Thursday, May 29, 2014

God Loves Broken Me!

Dinosaur Femur in honor of
Kelsy's femur break!
Dearest Family,
     Well...what can I say...I'm sure a lot of you have heard a lot of the events that have been going on this week because of the numerous phone calls between you and my mission president/mission president's wife.
This week has been a doozy that's for sure.
Let's start at the beginning with the fun stuff.
      Last Monday was super fun! As a district we went on a vernal trip for p-day and went to the dinosaur museum!! Hence the bajillion Dino pictures sent to you! It was a lot of fun. Sister Reed who is in our district is HILARIOUS and loves the Dino Museum. She's pretty much the one who made it so fun because she got so excited about everything there and kept posing like the statues of Dinos. It was a really fun trip!   At some point during the trip we got separated from the elders and it turned into more of a sister’s trip than a district trip. I love the sisters in my district! We were all really sad with the idea of transfers.

Final Companion battle before transfers.
      Tuesday is when I got the phone call from Sis McCune. (The mission president's wife) After a lot of putting it off, not caring, being busy, begging from mom and then finally being forced by my companion when it started bugging me a little bit more, I talked to Sis M at zone conference about my leg and asked her advice. She told me she would talk to the mission nurse and get back to me. So Tuesday she called me and told me that she and Sis Stuart, the mission nurse, had set up an apt for me on Friday in Provo for me to get my leg checked again.
     Thursday morning rolled around and I woke up with a really sore back. I think I slept on it funny or something, but it was the lower right side of my back and it was hurting my hip and my dumb numb leg. I was pretty stiff and it was hard to bend over and stuff. I put up with it for the day, and just did the usual for the day. District meeting that day was amazing. We had a super spiritual meeting and testimony meeting. I love my district so much.. I'm glad we aren't all separating. Actually Sis Balero is the only one in our district who is getting switched out.
     I'm really going to miss being Sis Balero's companion. I learned soooooo much from her. She really has become one of my best friends and I've loved being a part of her life and having her in mine. She has taught me so much about patience in trials and overcoming hard things. She is a fighter and I've grown so much with her. I can't wait to hang out with her after the mission! Next summer we'll both be in the Tri-cities and we've already been planning our road-trip to Roosevelt together :) haha!
    So the dreaded Friday appointment....
Dino friends - duh!
Lenise takes flight with her friend.
    So we woke up really early to get to Provo on time for my appointment. Sis. Stuart and we went in and talked to the doctor. One of the doctors was feeling my hip bone and back bones and he would push so hard on them!!! I didn't realize how tender they were until he started pushing everywhere. I was in a lot of pain when he did it, especially when he kept touching the super recent sore part of my back. Sis Balero thought I was going to start crying. The doctor came in, Dr. Rich and checked it all out and told me he wanted to get an MRI of my back before deciding anything else. He gave me a back brace (which has helped a lot...but it gets really hot to wear) and some prescription for an anti-inflammatory. Then I went straight to get an MRI. They made me wear some pajama pants...then they took me into this room and gave me some lime green ear plugs to wear while in the MRI tube thingy. I was trying really hard not to move at all the whole time, but every now and then my leg would twitch and I'd be like "Dang it!!! I ruined it!" but they never yanked me out to tell me to be still. 
Not happy about a Dr. visit!
     Back up to the doctor’s office, they told me that I have a minor disc bulge in my back that is pinching the nerves in my leg and causing the pain and numbness. Shocker! But then they told me I needed an epidural. No fun. I thought only pregnant women got those!!!! I kept telling Sis Balero that I was going to be paralyzed or get polio or something!!! She kept laughing and saying "No you aren't!!!! Stop freaking out!!!" But I really was super nervous and that day especially because of my sore back I was in quite a bit of pain...especially with all the poking and prodding. 
           So, Friday I was freaking out a bit about the whole situation, but then I just prayed and prayed. Then a voice whispered. "You haven't had time to study today. You need your spiritual food." but I didn't know where to start. So the little whisper said "Read Mountains to Climb by Elder Eyring." so I was like "okaaaay...." and when I read it, I cried.
     Here's the thing. God didn't put us on this earth to have a part. To have fun. To be happy 24/7 and dance around in a field of daisies. It's not all rainbows and butterflies. This life has trials for a reason. On my mission I've had mental and emotional trials. A lot of them. And I've come out stronger than I thought I could be in some ways. So He said..."Ready? I need you to do this." and so He handed me a physical one.  That's it. In the talk Mountains to Climb President Eyring says his mother went through 10 years of painful cancer. Spencer W. Kimball talked at her funeral he simply said that the pain wasn't from something she did wrong. She just needed more polishing. God thinks I need more polishing. So I'll do it. In the talk he says when you want to cry out "When I have tried all my life to be good, why this has happened to me?" it isn't the end. It's not. I felt like that. I thought, "I've been trying so hard to do what you ask. I've been trying so hard to be a good missionary and share your message. Why has this happened to me?" and then something from another talk spiked its way through my mind as I read those words "I am the Gardner here. I know what I want you to be." I cried. Because instantly into my mind popped my response word for word what the answer of the Current bush was in Christoffersons talk. "Thank you Mr. Gardner. Thank you for loving me enough to cut me down. Thank you for loving me enough to hurt me."
     Trials are there for a reason. To build us. Strengthen us. Complete us. I am convinced that God loves broken things. He loves broken hearts and contrite spirits. Broken spirits and souls that turn to Him. He loves the broken flesh of His only Begotten Son. He loves the broken cries of His children as they turn to Him. I am convinced that God loves broken me. 
     So it was hard. I was scared. But I know God loves me. I love Him. I know He'll watch over and protect me.
     President called me last night (Monday) and he told me that I wasn't going to be given the shot. He told me that I needed to be honest and tell him how much pain I was really in. He said if it's bad and I need this shot, then I was going to need to go on medical leave, for fear of possible paralysis. I told him no. It really isn't nearly as bad. I've been ignoring it for 7ish months. I can ignore it for 10ish more. My back pain has already gone back to normal and I should be fine with my back brace and anti-inflammatory meds. I love this work. You can't make me go home. You would have to drag me kicking and screaming from this place. I love Roosevelt. I am so blessed to have the chance to stay here. By the end of this next transfer I will have been here for a third of my mission. I didn't know it was possible to have more than one home, and here it is really beginning to feel like it. 
      I'm nervous to get a new companion as always....But it just means new things to learn and new ways to grow. 
      Thank you for all the prayers and love. I've really felt them. Really. 
      Sunday I spoke in one ward and Sis Balero and I sang in two others. It was our last time singing together as companions, but we didn't know it yet. Yesterday we spent saying goodbyes and packing for transfers. Everyone was surprised that I was staying and Sis Balero is going, because I've been here the longest. It has just been so hectic lately. Sorry I didn't get the chance to write anyone back this Monday. I'll try to catch up next! So for Aubrey, Natalie,'s coming next week! (P.S. I WAS SO EXCITED WHEN I HEARD ABOUT AUBREY GOING TO PERU! AAHHH!!!) I love you all so much.  Thanks for all the advice and love. I love you all so much. Don't forget it. Miss you!

Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Roosevelt Rocks!

All those years with a snake in the house
made her a brave missionary to hold
a boa.


Dearest Family,
Well another crazy week! 
     As I've become aware, the song that Sis Balero and I recorded on monday has already been spread like wild fire, due to mom's efforts. Haha! I got an email from Garrett saying he had a download of it...and I was like "WHAT? We don't even have a copy of it yet! How on earth!?" so yeah. Glad you all liked it :) We sing it almost every single week in sacrament meetings. We wanted to record for mother’s day and we got an extra nudge when a lady from one of the wards we sang it in (who became obsessed with our performance of it) had her sister die. Her daughter called us and said that she hadn't been able to stop talking about the song since we had sang it and asked if we could record it for her. We had already been planning on it, so we buckled down and called up Bro R. He's a counselor in the Bishopric in the Roosevelt 8th ward. He's awesome! And such a good singer and guitarist! I LOVE their family and its super fun to see them!
     This week has been random... But good. We almost met our goals this week, but barely fell short! Dang! But oh well, life goes on, and it isn't all about the numbers. I love the people here. I just do. I love Roosevelt, it Rocks!
     By the way!!! Transfer calls are coming on MONDAY!!! Roosevelt has become my second home and I love the people here so much. After three transfers here I wonder if I’ll be moved.
      So on Wednesday we invited some less actives and investigators to go to a local free concert with us. It was by Daniel Beck and Jessie Funk (Two AMAZING LDS vocalists!) We had one investigator show up, but it was amazing! If you haven't heard them sing before, do it! They were fantastic! He had such a stellar voice! I was blown away. I'd heard Jessie Funk before and she did amazing like usual :)
         Remember that stomach ache I had before I left on my mission that one time, and we went to the Dr, and everything?  Then I didn’t ever have it again until this Saturday.  I was in a lot of pain. And it kind of freaked Sis Balero out. But there was nothing I could do. I barely made it to my bed before all I could do was lay there and try not to move and relax but nothing made it stop hurting. It went a way a little after taking medicine, but I was still in pain. I was trying to stay positive. But what we figured out really fast is that if I laughed or sneezed it made it worse...Then we remembered a story from the John Bytheway CD we listen to, where John donated a kidney to his brother and they were both in the hospital in a lot of pain and they found out that laughing hurt, so they would try to make each other laugh! John's brother would say "Hey John! Love your guts!" and they would start laughing then be in a lot of pain! So I started thinking of that and then laughing and then being like "Stop! NO! I can't laugh!" 
     But yeah. So we called the District Leader and they came and gave me a blessing. Elder Davis is our district leader and he's the best! He gave me a blessing, and it was so inspired. Not only did he give it to heal me but he said some things in my blessing that were exactly what I needed to hear. I love the priesthood. It is so powerful and so inspired. I'm so thankful to have it in my life and I respect it so much. 
     My whole mission, instead of getting angry, or mad, or snapping, or becoming sad at something someone says to me that's negative or cynical or criticizing, I've been working on repeating to myself "God knows my heart." He does. He knows when I'm being falsely accused. He knows when others are being unfair or mean to me, or just making me feel like dirt for not living up to things or expectations. And believe me that happens a lot on the mission.  And instead of being mean back or talking back or retaliating, I've begun to repeat that one little thing in my head "God knows my heart."
     And I was so surprised when those exact words came out of Elder Davis's mouth. "God knows your heart. He knows your efforts and He is aware of you." It just hit me. God really knows me. He knows me so well and He knows every single tiny detail.
     He also knows those same things for everyone I teach. Forgetting yourself is so easy when you feel his love and appreciation for everyone you teach. I love being a missionary. I love loving these people and sharing the gospel and helping them realize who they are and what they can have through faith in the gospel. 
     I love you all and thanks for all you do! Shout out to Kayla for hand-writing out palates for me to do with little hand drawn pictures! And thanks for the Care package! Yes it's true! I'm 7 months out now. In just July I will be at my half way point...weird...
     Well I love you and pray for you! Miss you!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
Pain went away and I was able to work later that day. I'm all good now!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I just saw your face!

It's strange...I feel like I just saw you guys...Oh. Wait.  I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!! haha!
     It was soooooo fun to see you all yesterday! The babies are getting sooooooo big and it was super fun to see Sharee's baby bump! What is strange to me is that the new baby will be almost 8 months old when I get home off my mission....weeiiirrrdd....
The picture we got of her on our big screen
TV was pretty blurry, but this gives you an idea
of how she still feels about her mission. 
     I know we talked a lot about random things...and I'm glad you were all able to ask me your questions! It was so fun to see your faces and talk to you. What's weird is I always get nervous before talking to you guys, and then the second I see you and hear your voices, it's like everything snaps back to reality and feels normal, and suddenly the mission feels like a dream. But then when I hung up, it was like waking up from a dream...It was a weird feeling. I always think I'll cry and be sad when I hang up, but I always feel pumped and energized. It's like seeing you guys gives me the energy I need to keep going. All week long I was feeling like I missed you all a lot and just wanted to talk to you, and doing it gave me a boost and I think I can make it until Christmas now! Which feels forever away...But just think, the next time I Skype you it will be the last time until you see me in person! Thanks for all the laughs and stories...I'm still trying to get over how blonde Leisha looked! haha!
     Yesterday was a crazy day. Holidays are the worst for missionary work, as I've told you before! We made mother’s day cards and dropped them off at a bunch of Sisters houses who are super nice to us and take care of us. It was fun to see them all and wish them a happy mother’s day! We went to two wards yesterday and it was so cute to see all the little primary kids sing! I don't know why music affects me the most, but I wanted to just cry the entire time they sang. I was kind of emotional all day because everyone was talking about mothers and eternal families all day and I was just thinking about how I was going to be able to talk to you in a few hours!!!! In one ward they had the laurel presidency speak and they had extra time after so they called on random sisters to bare testimony...yeah and they just happened to call on me...which I totally wasn't expecting...they didn't even call Sis Balero, just me...Sis Balero said it was pay-back for volunteering her to pray the day before... But I was really nervous. So I went up and introduced myself and explained that this mother’s day was my first one away from home. I told them that I didn't realize the divine role of parenthood and mothers until I was separated from mine. I was super emotional because like I said before all I could think about is that I got to talk to you soon and everyone kept asking us when we would get to talk to our families. What was funny was after each ward they handed out chocolate or something, and they insisted that us sister missionaries take some. Every time they said "You'll be mothers soon..." and both Sis Balero and I were like "Uh...."
      On Saturday we didn't have much going on. We got invited to a Steak Fry for one of the wards and our ward mission leader promised that our investigators that we haven't seen in months would be there....they weren't. We had fun talking with D though. D is this hilarious guy we've been working with from when I first got here. He is probably early 30's. He used to be a drug addict and a rocker, but now he is super awesome and going to church and trying to make it to the temple. We are trying our hardest to help him kick his cigarette habit. He is seriously the funniest person I have ever met in my life. He used to have a Mohawk but now he just has a long beard and loves superhero movies and the Hobbit and goes to concerts all the time. He has the funniest sense of humor and Sis Balero and I seriously die laughing every single time we talk with him. We are having dinner at his house tonight before his lesson, and it should be good :) He's making us breakfast for dinner!
     This week was pretty basic. We got canceled on a lot. But we had a fun time. We got to go to mutual at the White Rocks branch and we taught them about missionary work via Missionary Jeopardy. It was a lot of fun and our Ward Mission Leader Bro. Crozier played with us and was SO competitive! We were playing with 12 year old girls! And he was smack talking them and going all out at it! It was hilarious! He's this elderly man and it was funny to see him all fired up. He is really into sports and could probably tell you every single statistic or player in every single sport for the past 50 years... 
      I still love the work to death. Being a missionary is the BEST! The spirit is constantly here and I love living with it as my constant guide. I'm so grateful that families are forever. Especially ours! There is an elder in my zone who is a convert and at the end of this month he gets to go to Salt Lake and get sealed to his family. Remember he was the one that was the only member of his family when he left on his mission and now his family of 7 are being sealed.  COOL!  We sang Families can be together forever at the end of our meeting and he just cried and cried. It was the most touching thing. I can't take it for granted anymore. Some families don't have the promise of forever like we do! And it is one of the most amazing things to watch as they make the idea of an eternal family a reality. I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you. Thank you so much for all your support and love and all the laughs and smiles. I miss you all so much and can't wait to see you all again. Hoorah for Israel! I love you all to the moon and back!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer 

Monday, May 5, 2014

6 months up in smoke!

Dearest Family of mine!
6 months
     Well, I can say that this week was a lot better than last week teaching wise.... Guess what?!?!? Not a single person canceled on us this week!!!!!!! GAH!!!! Can you believe it!? We couldn't when we realized it. Our numbers this week also went way up. 
    So funny story time.
     There was this less active guy we have been seeing on and off (We've been trying to get into his home for lessons for months) and he randomly started coming to church on his own and started taking the lessons this last week. But we had this problem...we couldn't find his records in our ipads....which was strange. A few different people had told us he was less active and we couldn't find any info, so finally we called the bishop.... turns out....HE ISNT A MEMBER!!!!!  He had been a progressing investigator the whole time! He even got up in church yesterday and bore his testimony! You should have seen our faces when we figured this all out, I was in shock!
Good bye shirt!
     I went on exchanges this week, which means I got to hang out with my awesome Sister Training Leader Sister Lolofie! She's the one I told you about last time, where we got locked out of our house?  But this time we were in Vernal at her apartment! It was soooo fun being with her. She has the funniest sense of humor and a great personality. It felt good to not have to worry about my area for a day and just talk and laugh a lot with a good friend. She's half Samoan and 23 and only has 3 months left on the mission. At night when we were falling asleep, we literally talked for way too long!  I hadn't laughed that hard in a really long time and it felt so good. Made me miss the nights Aubrey and I stayed up until 4 in the morning because we couldn't stop laughing over the stupidest things which made it impossible to fall asleep. But Sis Lolofie is awesome and has so much insight into the gospel.  The next morning we got up early and went to Denny's!!!! (They actually have on in Vernal!....not like Roosevelt. Roosevelt has subway and McDonalds....and that's it.) And then we headed back to Roosevelt for Zone Training Meeting. It was super good...except...they came out with reminders and some new policies about letter writing and emailing.... 
     So I'm only allowed to write letters on P-days now....which will greatly limit my letter writing.... :( ugh. I usually do it during my free hour at lunch so that I can get some extra-much-needed-sleep on p-days.... but I guess not. I'll be writing letters like crazy on p-days now... I think they will be sending out a letter that will inform you about the new rules and stuff.
       So anyways. Back to my week
       Thursday was Sis Balero's One year mark!!! HAPPY MISSION BIRTHDAY!!!!! Haha it was a good day! We celebrated my six month mark that day too. It's tradition for sister missionaries to burn a shirt on their six month mark, a skirt on their year mark, and a dress at their 18 months. So we went to the Felkins and had a bon-fire for dinner... >:) wahahaha!! And yes we burned a cheap blouse of mine that shrunk to the size of a toddler and then we burned a pink velveteen D.I. skirt for Sis Balero... her skirt stank really bad when we burned it. But it was a lot of fun!!! 
      Yesterday was a looooong day and super-hot outside. It's been like 80 degrees here all week long! Which is nice! 
6 months went by fast.  Here's hoping the next year
does too.
      Sounds like life back at home is going stellar. I love all the letters and pictures and fun things you send me! I appreciate them so so so much! Never doubt it! Even though I can't write back nearly as much as I would like to, they really uplift me and make my days so much better when I hear from each of you.  I really feel the prayers as well. When it gets hard on the mission, I'm surprised I'm able to make it through the things that I do... I feel like a lot of the time something is carrying me and lifting me that I can't put my finger on. And I'm positive it is the prayers you send my way. They really do help. They change everything. They have really been answered as the work is picking up and I'm able to overcome obstacles that have appeared in my way. I love you all so much and miss you to bits. Can't wait to see you in six days :) Happy anniversary to mom and dad! Sorry I missed out! But I totally loved that you posted the family picture without me in it...I should have cropped myself in with a really ugly creepy face or something! :) haha.
    Love you always and forever,

Love, Sister Lenise Diane Volmer