Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Busy & Happy

We miss this smile-so glad she's happy!


Dear Family,
Get Ready.
Put your seatbelts on.
Crazy week.
Lots happened.
Life is good.
And Frustrating.
And Crazy.
And Hilarious.
And just WAAAAHHH!!!
So this week.....where to begin, where to begin.... I don't even know!!! 
Snow, rain, & hale so you gotta play in it!
      So we've been doing that one One Ward A Night program I've been telling you about in my last email, and seriously we had a ton of our ward mission leaders cancel on us this week, which was kind of a blessing because I got a bad cold this week and Sis Balero is recovering from sickness too... Ayiyi! Sickness is not fun when you're a missionary and have to do missionary work anyways! So Monday, (You know how I was telling you I was getting super bored with all my clothes, well tender mercy!!!) we got a call from a lady in one of our wards (Who is super stylish and just my size) and she told us that she was getting rid of a bunch of clothes and asked if we wanted to come try some on! Which we did and I got a bunch of new(ish) stuff! First World Missionary problems...but whatever, it's good to have new clothes! 
     Then Tuesday there was this wacky storm! So everyone out here has been praying and fasting like crazy for more rain and snow because they don't have enough moisture to last the summer. Well this crazy storm comes out of nowhere and starts pouring snow, hale, and we decided to dance outside in it while singing. It was fun. One of our Fellowshippers who is an RM sister who returned home early because of health issues also got engaged that day so we had fun "oohing" and "aaahhing" over her pretty ring.
Goat whisperer
     Wednesday, we missed birthing goats!!! SAD! :( We wanted to really really bad! But the text that their owner sent us never made it through), so we just went over later that day and played with the 3 new baby goats! (We actually didn't play with them, we helped build a goat shed...but we still got to hold them!) We named them after the songs we sang to their mother to get her to have the babies... Roar, Brave, and Fractle. They were soooo cute! Also Wednesday night we were up making videos for our District Training meeting the next day. Our district leader called us Sunday and told us we had to make a short hilarious video to share before each DTM...well guess what. The next day WE WON the contest with our was simply a video of me holding a hideous picture of myself with a bajillion double chins and counting them in a strange voice...and then we added credits and all the double chins were we won. 
     Thursday was super fun, because we went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders. Sis Balero went to Vernal, and Sis Lolofie came and stayed with me here in Roosevelt. I absolutely LOVE Sister Lolofie!!! She's half Samoan and gorgeous! She's super cool and hilarious and she has these crazy blue eyes even though she looks Polynesian. Her personality is pretty much a 23 year old girl version of Lucas Fernandez... I'm not even kidding she reminds me of him so much and their laughs are the same! We cracked up a lot and had bunches of fun. I wish I had gotten a picture with her, she is so inspiring! I hope I can be just like her someday as a missionary. She is super good at putting people at ease and finding scriptures off the top of her head that help in every situation.
     So Friday, I started getting sick...which was no bueno...but I think I'm already getting over it, so it didn't last that long and it was nowhere near as sick as I was in Orem back in January. That was bad! 

Robert & Remo's baptism!
4 years in choir & 2 years in Forte together helps
to make for some great musical numbers at baptisms.
     Saturday was crazy...We helped out at this Family History Fair that our stake put on, which was super interesting! That's one of the things I want to work on when I get home is Family History! Then we practiced our song (Come Unto Christ, 2014 Youth Theme Song) for the baptism, then we headed over the baptism! The program was beautiful and it was an amazing feeling watching as Robert and Remo both got baptized. I thought I would cry or something because these boys were my first real baptism that I had been with from the beginning...but instead I laughed when they got baptized because the water heater in the chapel hadn't been working and the water was FREEZING. They both were gasping when they came out of the water! Poor guys! We sang and it went better than I thought it would, especially with my half-dead-with-a-cold voice. Lots of people came up to us and complimented us and told us about how well our voices blended together. After 4 years of choir together, I think we've mastered the art of blending :) We've gotten super close to Robert and Remo's family and we had dinner with them after the baptism and had fun getting to know their cousins. Their grandmother Glenda, who has recently returned to activity and is the main supporter for her grandsons. She is an amazing women and I'm so proud of her and her example. Saturday night was a dumb night though. NOBODY wanted to see us at all.... we couldn't get a hold of anyone and nobody was home! Our Ward Mission Leader Bro Wilda (He is a stellar Ward Mission Leader!!) was trying so hard to find us people, but because so many of the people in Roosevelt are related, one of their grandpa's died and suddenly EVERYONE was visiting family or prepping for a almost literally everybody’s grandpa died and we had no one to teach.
     Sunday was super crazy too. We went to Robert and Remo's confirmations and taught a lot of people. I was sooooo tired and sick that I was trying soooo hard not to fall asleep during Relief Society. It probably didn't help that I was fasting too for a lesson we had later that day.
     So we've been trying to teach this guy L for FOREVER! But he just keeps chickening out when we invite him to take the lessons. He's 25 and he's married to a girl (Whose less active) named T, and they have the cutest little baby boy named K. He is such a baby flirt! What a cute kid! I'm super sad we aren't allowed to play with cute babies as missionaries...because if we could I would play with that kid for hours! But anyways, back to L. We've had a billion spiritual moments with him, but he's been reluctant to take the lessons. So when Sis Lolofie came with me to his house on Thursday, she was super smooth and got him to finally accept the lessons and we set up a time to see him on Sunday. Then Saturday he texted and said he just didn't know if he was ready for the lessons yet. So I fasted for him on Sunday and prayed like crazy for him. Then we taught him the Plan of Salvation (The one he had the most questions about) and answered a lot of his questions. We keep telling him to pray but he won't because I think he's too scared he might actually get an answer. And he keeps telling us he wants a big slap-in-the-face answer if he's actually going to do this...DANG! He's tough. But I LOVE teaching them! Whenever I'm over there I just feel like I need to help them accept the gospel. So if you could pray for L to soften his heart and to also get an answer I would appreciate that so much.
      By way of a concluding spiritual thought, I thought I would share with you a poem I wrote this week:
 I love you all and pray for you daily. Hope Kelsy gets well soon! Until Next week!
Love forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
 This I Know
By: Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

This I know:
That God has fingers,
nails,  palms, knuckles,
god has cheekbones,
a bottom lip.
A sloping nose,
and creases in Hi skin,
where His mouth pulls
into a smile like the

This I know:
God has a Son,
with flshypink
on His hands and wrists
and feet and side.
He has piercing eyes
that closed
when His strong shoulders
under the weight
of so many
ravaged hearts.

This I know:
That thought at times
I have taken
the hammer in my
and delivered--myself--
the blows
to those heavy iron nails,
God's Son
has still lifted me
with the ghosts
of those iron nails
forever graven
on His palms.

This I know:
Those hate--scarred
perfect hands
aren't capable of
creating flaws,
Every deformity
crease, crevice, crater
imperfection, blemish, and
broken thing
has a purpose
has a role.

This I know:
That I have fingers,
nails, palms, knuckles.
I have cheekbones,
a bottom lip,
a sloping nose
and creases in my skin,
where my mouth pulls
into a smile.
And though I am shattered
broken fragments--
This I know:
That I am beautiful
to Him.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Lenise sends prayers for Kelsy!

Dearest Family,
After a busy Sabbath Lenise finds out about her sister's leg break & surgery.
Looks like she has sympathy from the dog.
    I know I've said before that past weeks have been crazy. But I've gotta say this past week has surpassed them all....
    Lets just start by saying that last night, after an extremely long Sunday of teaching and churching, I pulled up my facebook to see pictures of Kelsy strapped to a gurney!!!!!! WHAT THE FREAK???? Give me a flippin heart attack why dontcha!!! As if I wasn't exhausted enough, suddenly my heart jumped into overload!!! I was freaking out!!!! Camry was like "What?! What's going on!?" So I was pretty worried...but the weirdest part for me was the fact that it had happened the night before and that she had gone into emergency surgery, and I hadn't known or heard a thing! Gosh, that really bugged me for some reason! You should have called the mission office and had them tell me! What the heck. Well I hope she is doing better. That has got to be absolutely NO FUN! I've been praying for her like crazy! And I had my whole district pray for her, so she should be feeling the super-power prayers from missionaries right about now!!! The ZL's were worried about me but I told them I was fine. It had already happened and Kels was already in recovery so there wasn't much I could do about the situation...So does she have to do graduation on crutches? How is she gonna be a lifeguard?...Oh man, does Tanner know??? He'll FLIP! Well we're praying for her and hope she heals up quick! What's the estimated time until she gets back to normal??

Okay, so this week:
    Last Monday....I kind of got pulled over for the first time in my life...

They are so busy, her comp hasn't had time to
unpack yet...thus surrounded by boxes.
I was  hyperventilating, but it was just a headlight out. The second I rolled down the window and the officer saw my name tag, it was all good! He said, "Where are you from? Washington huh? Cool! How long you been out? Okay just get your headlight fixed! Good luck with the work!" I was like "Wow...when President McCune says that our name tags are a get-out-of-jail-free card, he wasn't joking...." haha
Also I had a really embarrassing moment...
     So I'm not the best driver...and sometimes I think Camry should be the designated driver, especially since I get so turned around on the back roads we have to drive on!
We pulled up to Robert and Remo's house this last week (They are getting baptized this upcoming Saturday!! YAY!!! So excited for them!) and Robert was standing out in the yard texting and didn't even see us. So I try to pull the keys out of the ignition and they won't come out, so I'm yanking on them and saying "What the heck, these keys won't come out!" and all the sudden Camry is like "We're Rolling backwards!!!!!!" and I yell "AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!" and then we both realize I never put the car in park....So yeah.. I felt really stupid. And Robert was there the whole time texting and never even noticed us screaming and bouncing in the car next to him! We laughed so hard I about died!

     We also were singing at the top of our lungs up the road to their house and we saw a girl walking past and she turned and looked at us funny, and we just laughed and were like "Good thing she doesn't know who we are!" ...and then she walked up to Robert and Remo's house! And she was our fellowshipper for the lesson! We about died laughing all over again!

Will this goat have babies today?
Letting no-show investigators they still love them!

    So, the elders a while back were bragging about how they got to birth a cow and we were really jealous! So ever since we've been trying to find animals to birth and we've found three different families that said we could birth their animals for them for service! April, one of our recently returned Less Actives, has two pregnant goats that she is waiting to have their babies! So we've been over there a few times for false alarms but those baby goats won't come out. We tried really hard to be the goat whisperers and sing to them so they would have their went from singing "I wanna see you be brave" but it turned into " I wanna see you give birth!!!"
    Haha best ever! That and one of our Ward mission leaders has cows that he said we could help birth...and then one of our investigator's dogs is having puppies! She said we could come to that too! YAY! BABIES!
    I love being companions with Camry!...oh sorry...Sis Balero...I've caught myself saying her first name soooo many times and it's a struggle! We sing together all the.  And we've been asked to sing at Robert and Remo's baptism this week so we are practicing for that...don't know what we're singing yet though...
    We had Zone training Meeting this week and it was awesome! We have such an amazing new Sister Training Leader (Although I miss Sis Nielson aka Megan) Her name is Sis Lolofie (Pronounced Lo-la-fi-ay) And she looks Polynesian and is super funny. But she has some amazing things to say all the time! Two of my favorite lines from her this week were "Love changes, love life. Hate changes, hate life. So just go forward with love and say "Challenge ACCEPTED!"" and then another one she said that hit me really hard for some reason was "You are NOT cast in stone. You can change."
      I've been learning a lot about change this week. It is a huge part of repentance. I've been studying repentance this week and read an amazing talk by Jeffery R. Holland (He's a boss) called "For Times of Trouble" And there was this amazing quote inside it:
    "Repentance is not a foreboding word. It is, following faith, the most encouraging word in the Christian vocabulary. Repentance is simply the scriptural invitation for growth and improvement and progress and renewal. You can change! You can be anything you want to be in righteousness. If there is one lament I cannot abide it is the poor, pitiful, withered cry, "Well, that's just the way I am." If you want to talk about discouragement that is one that discourages me... please spare me your speeches about "That's just the way I am!" I've heard that from too many people who wanted to sin and call it psychology....You can change anything you want to change and you can do it very fast. That's another satanic sucker-punch--that it takes years and years and eons of eternity to repent. It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say "I'll change."-- and mean it!"

    I've seen that so much on my mission. I thought changing myself to be better would take forever! But it really takes the moment to realize I've been doing something wrong, decide to change, and from that moment live for it. I can't explain to you how much happier I feel with my life, now that I feel so light.  I no longer have the burden of so many sins or weakness or flaws, because I'm realizing repentance isn't something to be scared of, but something to be embraced! It's helped me feel so much better about myself and helped me to really smile and just be happy being me. Because I can change. And I have. I am not the same girl who walked on that plane 5 months ago. I feel so different, and I like it! I know my Savior lives and that His atonement made this all possible.
       I love you all forever! I miss you and I'm praying for you all like crazy!
Love Forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Temple trip with district!

Monday, March 10, 2014

West Richland Represented

Sis. Balero new Companion & old friend. We were in RHS
Choir together & Forte'
Dearest Darlingest Mommsy and Popsicle....and the rest of you all,

    Last Tuesday night we were up waaaaay too late because Sis Jones took forever to pack up all the stuff she had accumulated over seven and a half months in one area....needless to say I feel asleep on my bed around 12:30am with all the lights still on while Sis Jones packed for another hour. 
   So then Wednesday we woke up super early too, in order to lug everything out to our car and drive the two and a half hours to Provo for the transfer meeting. I was really sad to not be Sis Jones companion anymore! We had a lot of good memories and laughs, and I was super sad to see her go. Plus I was terrified of taking over the area after only 6 weeks, and she had been her for her whole mission so far. So when we finally got to the transfer meeting she sat there and drew me a bajillion maps of everyone on our teaching list so that I would never get lost...but I kinda did...whatever, not important! Haha! But anyways, because we are eastern Utah, they announce our companions first so that we can leave sooner and drive all the way back to eastern Utah so that we can get to the rest of our appointments on time. So Pres McCune calls my area and has me stand up...and I'm super nervous. It's always nerve wrecking to get a new companion! You never know who you'll be put with and you always imagine the worst possible thing, like getting put with a psycho who throws stuff at you and hates you...which is very unlikely, but it's still an irrational fear all missionaries have! So I'm standing there and everyone is looking at me, because they do transfers in the chapel and they call your name, you stand up, then they call your comps name and they stand up and everyone watches as you hug each other and walk out of the chapel. So I'm standing there, and suddenly Pres McCune says "Sister Volmer your new companion will be....Sister Balero."
    I can't even tell you what happened next! I was in a fog! Both of us gasped really loud, then I tripped over the two girls sitting between me and the isle, and then Camry and I were running at each other and then giving each other a huge hug and l laughing really hard and we both kept saying "NO WAY! NO WAY!!" and everyone watching us was really confused and laughing and Pres McCune said over the podium "They look a little too happy about being companions!" and everyone laughed! As we walked out both of us were so relieved! It was the best feeling ever! Transfers are always either exciting or full of dread and I had been dreading a new companion...and then I got Sister Balero and I was soooo relieved! After the meeting and we were loading up our car, President McCune came up to us and was like "I totally forgot that you two knew each other...But God didn' it's meant to be." 

Wind + skirts = no fun!
      It's been super fun being with Sis Balero! We sing together in the car to our CDs all the time and today we were reminiscing old choir songs we had sung together in Chamber Choir and started singing them! It was funny to realize we both still knew the songs and she sang soprano and I sang alto. We sang Magnificat from my freshman year, and a bunch of other songs and it was fun! We have been asked to sing together at our Zone Training Meeting this week, so that should be fun too! I'll have to look through the sheet music you sent us to pick a song to use!
    It's fun being with Camry, but it's a little hard too. She's like a piece of home, and it makes me miss home a bit. We have so many of the same memories and she's so familiar that it makes me a little homesick. Usually I stay pretty distracted and busy, but when you have someone to talk about the good old times of high school, musicals, Forte, and friends with, it brings back a lot of memories. But I love the experience as well and I'm so stoked to serve with her!!! This is going to be a great transfer.
As for taking over the area....I'm pretty stressed, not gonna lie. Sis Balero has no idea who anyone is, or where anything is so it's been all on me for the past week. It's been hard because all the ward mission leaders loved Sis Jones and had a really good relationship with her, whereas none of them know me very well and I have to build trust with each of them and show them that I'm serious and responsible...but it's been hard.
    Saturday was especially rough. We couldn't get a hold of anyone and all of our fellowshipping kept falling through. And one of the less active families we regularly see suddenly dropped us....they said "You've done a great job. But please don't come over anymore." and that was it. Sis Balero could tell I was stressed out, and she was really good about helping me just roll with everything. Yesterday, Sunday was crazy too...because of the time change, we had a meeting at 7 in the morning that felt like 6. So we got up at 5:45 which felt like 4:45, and then we had a 17 hour day of missionary work. Yesterday was hectic...And I'm pretty sure I fell asleep on my knees last night because I barely remember waking up and rolling into bed...which meant I didn't turn my alarm clock on...oops! Sis Balero and I accidently slept in until 7:30am on accident...but it felt like our usual time 6:30am....but we just didn't set our alarm because both of us were soooo pooped! Sis Balero is fighting a cold as well so I felt really bad for her that she worked that hard and was sick! We've repented for sleeping in....maybe God let us do it on purpose because he knew how exhausted we were.
    But good news! We put two new people on date for baptism this week! They are this golden couple named the H, and they are part Native American and SO GOLDEN! They have already been reading their scriptures, and going to church, and super faithful! They have two kids under 2 years old and they are a great family! So that boosted my spirits that I could do that on my own with Sis Balero! Also this week we surpassed all our goals by a bunch! It was AWESOME! last night while we were sending them in I was kept being like "Whoa! We got way more than our goal for that one...whoa! That goal too!...WOW! We passed that goal TOO!" So it was good to know all my stress and hard work paid off!
      I love you all to death and hope all is going well! I pray for you every day! If I forgot to tell you anything, then I will write you soon! LOVE YOU ALL!
Love forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer 

What are in these green smoothies Mom wants to know!

Life long friends

Virginia, my 97 year old friend.
Dear Family,
   Well...transfer calls came today...And Sis Jones is being transferred away from me, and I have to take over the entire area by myself...I'M FREAKING OUT!!!! I've only been here six weeks! I don't even know the whole area yet! Plus I haven't been driving so I don't know how to drive to get places at all...needless to say Sis Jones will be drawing me a bazillion maps today and I will be taking lots of notes from her...She's been here 7 1/2 months(her whole mission) and everyone knows her really well! Nobody knows me at all! Gosh...some of the people I haven't even met we are starting a whole new program with our ward mission leaders called "One Night a Week" or OWN, where each mission leader sets up a night of lessons with us and we go on splits, so one of us goes out with the ward, and the other goes out to our usual lessons...and I have to do that that by myself with a new missionary who doesn't know the area! Sis Jones is like my other half! Nobody else will accept that I sing obnoxiously loud wherever we go! Goodness...I'm not gonna lie... I'm a little terrified right now...I'm always a little terrified when it means I'm getting a new companion...    Gosh, I'm stressing....dang...Deep breaths deep breaths...
   Well....yep. Pray for me. A lot.
   This last Friday during planning we went on an area tour and Sis Jones drove around pointing things out for me while I wrote on the planning sheet...So I feel a little bit better, but I'm still nervous because I'm terrible with directions, so if I'm asked to find somewhere where I've never been before, I'll probably get lost...At least I'm not training...that would be even more stressful. Having to do all this plus train a new missionary would be crazy...
      This week has been crazy. On Tuesday I had a pretty cool experience...but I need to back up and explain some things first. 
    So one of the things I used to really struggle with on the mission was going directly by the spirit. I had a lot of fear and it was hard for me not to rely on myself and give it all over to the spirit. (Then President McCune told us that if we feared we needed to repent...and I was like "Oh...well then...I need to repent")

   That and also I've been struggling with myself. When I was in Orem I had a bunch of experiences where Satan tried to shake my testimony. I ran into Atheists and Anti-Mormons who wanted so badly to tear my testimony away from me, and they aimed all of their most convincing ammo at me, and I still wasn't shaken. I know what I know. My knowledge of my identity as a daughter of God was strengthened instead. I remember riding on my bike after one of those encounters thinking "Ha! Satan! You thought that would shake me?? You were wrong! I know who I am, and I know what I believe!" And so Satan probably got really ticked off...and was like "Oh yeah? We shall see then..." and he decided to play dirty. He decided to go back in my file and pull out something that has bugged me underneath for a long time. Any insecurities I have about myself....Things that are so ridiculously stupid and shallow and vain. 

    That's one of the reasons I wrote about being defined by Christ in one of my last emails. I want Him to define me and Him alone. I want to be beautiful to Him. 
    So- now that I have the preamble out, I can tell you the experience:
    We were on splits Tuesday night, and I was with a ward missionary named Sister Murrey. We went to a lady's house named Ranae. She was a less active, but has recently returned to church and is doing awesome! But she is really struggling. She lost her son almost a year ago and it has completely shattered her. She can't get over it, and it's affecting her happiness a lot. We keep telling her she'll see him again, but she keeps saying "No I won't, he wasn't living the gospel, he wasn't making the right choices..." We've helped out a lot but she still is very sad about it. We met with her Tuesday night and had a lesson on the atonement and how it can change people in this life and the life to come. That's when the most amazing thing happened. I had a prompting. And not just any prompting; the kind where you feel like your chest is swelling with the spirit and you can't breathe and there are words building in your throat and you just know you need to say them. And I got really nervous. I didn't want to say them, they were kind of bold and I was scared...but I knew I had to. The spirit was prompting me very powerfully and they had to come out. So I started to stutter: "Um...I...uh...I don't know why I'm so nervous to say" Then the spirit completely took over and it just came rushing out and I started crying and couldn't stop it:
"As a Representative of Jesus Christ, I feel very prompted to tell you that your son is okay. He is happy. He wants you to be happy. Your Savior loves you." 
All three of us were crying, and I had to get control of myself. Then Ranae grabbed my hand and said something I'm sure she was prompted to say too: "You are truly a very beautiful girl." And then I lost it again. 
    Heavenly Father's hand is so prominent in my life. I know for a fact He watches over us every single day, through every event, through every joy, through every pain, through every trial, and through every struggle. 
     It's only when the spirit is shining through you, and you know who you are as a child of God, that you can have that inner beauty. Jeffery R. Holland said it comes from knowing your identity, knowing your role, and knowing whose you are. I am His. When someone possesses the spirit, they have a beauty that shines, that comes out through the eyes, and through their laugh, and through the way they treat others and speak and show love. That is the kind of beauty I am striving to possess.
    I know so many people who don't measure up to the world's standard of beauty, and yet I think they are some of the most gorgeous people who have ever walked this earth.

   We are Children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. And I love Him. 

Bye Sis. Jones you were an awesome companion
This week has been one of growing, one of patience, and one of change.
This next week will bring a lot of change and growth for me also. 

     I will miss my companion Sis Jones... Just a little about her as a farewell! She is a smarty-pants Biology Education major. She did a ton of plays and musicals. She loved cats...which was hilarious when she would meow at cats when we walked by. She would sing with me in the car. She would eat cookies in front of me while telling me I couldn't have any.  She made me laugh every day. So I decided why not embarrass her a little bit and post a few of the quotes she said to me that made me almost pee my pants I was laughing so hard: 
Sis J: "Your eyelashes...look like...bats..."
Me: "What?!"

Sis J: "That's why I don't give compliments!!!"

Me: "Why do we even care about attractiveness? It's just going to fade!"
Sis J: "Because it's scary to wake up in the morning and see an ugly person..."

(My All time favorite)
Sis J: "If your face could be an animal what would it be?"
Me: "What?? I don't know..."
Sis J: "I know what you would be..."
Me: "What?"
Sis J: "nevermind...I don't want you to be offended..."

Me: "now you HAVE to tell me!"
Sis J: " elephant seal..."
Me: "WHAT?!?!"

Sis J: "I told you I was bad with faces!!! They are nice creatures, okay!?...they actually are!...they mate for life!"

 Haha oh Sister Ashley Jones, how I shall miss her :)
   Wish me luck! I love you all so much! I miss you bunches and pray for you! Hope this week is good for you all! I've loved the letters so far! They are great!
Love forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer