Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy Birthday to ME!! and other important stuff

Dearest Family of mine!!!
Opened Birthday package first thing!
Well Happy Burfday tooooooo meeeeeeee!!!!! Hahah. Thank you soooooo much for the birthday package! It was awesome!!! I loved all of it and I'm so thankful!You are all the best! I'm so thankful for your love and support! Our land lady made us pancakes today for breakfast which was super sweet of her and she also got me some earrings and a necklace. She is the sweetest  woman ever! Love Sis Brighton... 
YAY FOR BABY DAVEY!!! :) I was soooooooooo excited when I found out!! I showed everyone his little picture :) He is a cutie-patootie! Weird to think he'll be 8 months by the time I get home.... If he had been born on my birthday his name would have been baby Mudge..... heheh :) Lucky duck....
          So this week has been a good one! 

"Cheese" for her yummy birthday cake>
Last Monday I told you about sour patch bowling right? We had a huge bag of sour patch kids and you had to grab one out of the bag and depending on what color it was you had to bowl a certain way! There was backwards, left handed, granny, on your stomach,  crab, and a bunch of other silly ways! We had a really good laugh and a lot of fun! After Bowling, we just sat on the top of a hill and drank juice and joked around with the Elders. One of them brought a billion gummy bears and we started throwing them at each other and catching them in our mouths. It was really funny to watch them run around like chickens with their heads cut off as they threw the bears super high up and tried to catch them. They were running into each other and losing them in the grass. And when we were down to the last gummy bear I decided to get in on it and was running around trying to catch it in my mouth. When I did all the elders instantly fell to the ground laughing really hard and I spit the bear out really fast! They hadn't told me, but the bear had already been in two of the elders mouths and had grass stuck to it!!! It was soooooooooooo gross!!!! But we had a really good laugh and it was a super fun day! 
Later that night we had an early birthday party with Dusty and his parents and sister and niece and nephews. They made me a rockin awesome dinner of rice and back straps and fruit and ice cream cookie cake that was really rich! We had fun and his mom who is so sweet gave me a piano cd specifically for sister missionaries. They are the best! 
Rainbow after lots of rain storms this week.
      Tuesday was a really loooong day. We had lessons all day long and didn't get home until late.  We were so tired after such a long day,  when suddenly sis McMurray sat up really fast and was like "Guess what I just realized?!" and I was like "What?" in a really mumbled voice because I was face down in my pillow... "We didn't have a single person cancel on us today!!!" YAY! That like never happens. We always have something fall through. Wednesday we went to the Fausetts and helped can carrots. Their daughter Misty is serving in California and doing an awesome job! We met with S which is a young mother who we've been teaching for a long time. A couple weeks ago she had a bunch of concerns finally come out on the table when I asked her if she had prayed about baptism yet. (She has been turning us down every time we invite her to be baptized and says she's not ready) She told us about being scared of being judged by her family, and not being ready to change and she doesn't want to pray because she knows the answer will probably be that she needs to be baptized and she doesn’t want to! haha oh goodness...so we've been working with her. And Wednesday we read the Story of the Currant Bush with her and the importance of accepting God's will. I told her how before my mission I didn't really want to go. I was terrified. I didn't want to pray and ask God if a mission was right for me because I knew already what his answer would be and I didn't want to.... but after 5 months of back and forth I finally prayed...and got the answer to serve...and now I've never looked back and wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. My mission means everything to me and I've learned so much from it and have been so blessed. I promised her that she would feel the same if she got baptized and invited her to pray about it. She began talking about her baptism...and now it's not a matter of if but more of a matter of when! YES! 
      Thursday we went to a chicken fry out in the middle of nowhere at a place called Bacon Park...if it's going to be named bacon park there should be bacon growing on the trees or something! but no....no bacon... just a bunch of chicken. It was really good...
Showing some frustration when people
don't want to see them on Saturdays
     The rest of this week was just teaching teaching teaching.... It has been a good one and there have been a zillion lightning and thunder storms. I almost wet my pants in bed last night because one crack of lightning and thunder happened all at once and lit up our whole room and I totally jumped and let out a little squeak! My heart felt like it had flown into my mouth! Scared me soooo bad! haha! It took me forever to get to sleep last night... I thought I was going to get struck...and Sis McMurray was knocked out tired and slept thru the whole thing. 
    I've just been so thankful this week and happy. Life is so good. I am so blessed and grateful and I can't contain it all. We were singing I know that My Redeemer Lives in church yesterday and I just sang it at the top of my lungs and was so happy and just....it was great. The Gospel is SO so soooooo good. I want everyone to just feel this way all the time. We had a bunch of people come to church yesterday that we had been trying to get to come and they finally made it! It just made yesterday dandy! Choosing to be happy is just so much better. You should try it .... happiness is a choice and if there is one think I regret in my life it's that I didn’t just let myself be happy. It's so worth it. :)
     I'm so happy that you guys are having fun and hope you guys have fun as school starts back up! Tell Kelsy that she is so lucky to have those jobs!  Happy late birthday to Boo Boo Ezra :) Love you all so much and miss you!
Love Forever,
  Sister Lenise Diane Volmer


Friday, August 22, 2014

9 months in Roosevelt- Yes!!

Staying in Roosevelt w/Sis. McMurray
Dearest family....
    Well this week has been a really good one!  First things first! I'm staying yet another transfer in the Roosevelt West stake! Yayayayayay! I'm so happy! I love it here so much! I'm going to be a mess when I finally leave! Sis McMurray is staying also! Which I'm also really stoked about because I really love her! She is so easy to get along with and we just mesh really well....I might have said this before but we are seriously on the same brain wave. She gets it and she gets me. So I'm so happy that I get to keep her! I also get to stay here for my birthday! Yayayay! Happy birthday
to me! This will be my sixth transfer in the area so I will have spent nine months here by the end of it....haha half my mission in Roosevelt. Love it!
    So let's start with Monday of last week.....we had a zone activity...and it was soooooo much fun! But I never anticipated the after effects! We started out playing dodge ball but it wasn't very fun because everybody got out super-fast and we would have to re-line up all the balls on the center line over and over and over again. So Sis McMurray announced we should play slaughter ball which is like dodge ball only it's every man fire himself. You throw balls at everyone around you and if you get hit you have to sit down until the person who hit you gets out, then you can get back up and keep playing. It was really intense and people started forming alliances. You would get one person out and suddenly a whole flock of people would bounce back up and start firing at you! We played it for a good two and a half hours! We were all really tired and none of us thought about the fact that we were squatting up and down so much....until it hit us two hours later....my thighs were SO SORE! I would forget in the morning and swing my legs over the side of my bed and then be like "holy cow!" Haha! And when we walked Into our district meeting Elder Hernandez was like "are you guys sore?!" And we said "yes! So much!" And they were all in the same boat. 
     Monday night we went and had a lesson with D and the M's. We taught him about the anti-Nephi-Lehi's  and how they buried their weapons of rebellion. I don't know if you've ever watched the Mormon message "the sting of the scorpion" but it's based on that same talk and we shared different segments from that talk. Then after talking about the weapons of rebellion we talked about how our sins are like our weapons of rebellion. Then we all drew swords. My sword is pretty gnarly! We then wrote down a sin that we wanted to give up right then on our weapon of rebellion and then we went out back into the M's yard and dug hole in the garden and cast our swords there like the anti-Nephi-Lehi’s and it was awesome. We were there when we found out Robin Williams died. That was pretty sad :(
     Wednesday afternoon we were super busy running all over the place to all our lessons. We did really well with our goals this week which made me happy because the last few weeks have been blah. We had quite a bit of rain again this week but this weekend the heat has picked back up. I don't really mind though. I love it in the evenings here in the country. 
     Friday we went and saw the H’s We talked to them about the word of wisdom again and just how it blesses our lives and they're both doing really good at it. Their poor dogs  had porcupine quills in their muzzles which was really sad. We had fun playing with their son J and daughter G.
      Saturdays in the mission field are seriously really hard because nobody wants to see us. Especially at the end of summer, everybody is out of town and it's hard to find people to teach. So we texted around and asked people if they needed service and Summer Wilda said that she had some for us to do so we went over to the Wilda’s house. We had a lot of fun at the Wilda’s house doing some crafts for Summer. She is a really crafty person and likes to decorate her house with different things from Pinterest but because of her small children and her recent baby she hasn't been able to so she pretty much did laundry while we made a book wreath out of pages from an old book and little puff pom-pom ball things that are super cute but I don't really know what they're called. We were like "why don't we clean and do laundry and you make the stuff!" But she said it stressed her out when other people cleaned her house and we would be doing her a lot more service if we just made the wreath and balls for her.

     Today for Pday we are going to the bowling alley to sign journals and play sour patch bowling. Sour patch bowling is really fun because with all the different colors of sour patch kids you have to bowl a different way according to the color that you picked out of the bag. I'm just really glad I don't have to pack today. Also tonight for dinner we’re going over to Dusty's
We sent Lenise's Birthday box early in case
she got transferred....now she has to wait for the 25th
 and he's making me an early birthday dinner! He said that he would make me back straps and rice my favorite especially since it's what we ate at home all the time. And fruit. I've become obsessed with fruit...He's also said that he's going to make me a homemade ice cream cookie cake! Yay! He's the best! I hope you can meet him some day!
     Life is good. I love being a missionary. I know you have heard both sides of the spectrum from me: the ups and the downs, but it really is worth it. I hit my ten month mark last week and it hit me how fast my mission is going by...I wish it would slow down. No matter how hard this experience can be at times, I love it so much. It has made me so happy and I love being me because i get to be a missionary! I love you all so much I hope you're feeling better especially those who have been sick this week. I hope you guys have a fun last week of summer and do a lot of fun stuff before you are enslaved at school. Also has Sharee had her baby yet!!!? Let me know as soon as possible!! You better send pictures and everything! I love all of you to the moon and back and miss you guys! Talk to you next week on my birthday!
Love forever,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lightning & Cancelations, but still happy!

Dearest Family!

Well...this week thankfully was not as hectic and crazy as last week...But I have to say that in some ways this week was super disappointing because of the many many  people who canceled on us....like none of our goals were met and our numbers were really low...ugh...but still.... I just felt awesome this week...even with all the cancellations... I don't know why...but I was happy. But that's just missionary work. It's dandy and grand. And lately life just seems beautiful even in it's craziness... (okay, done with cheesy-ness) 
Do you think this is a hint to everyone? Empty mailbox!
So last Monday we had we were really tired on p-day so we pretty much just bummed on the couch at our house and watched Legacy and did nails.... yeah...we were lame but it felt good. haha. Then Monday night we had a lesson with Dusty...and I read him my story that I gave to mom for mother’s day and we talked in depth about the power of the atonement in our lives and how personal it is... I was really nervous about reading the story and didn't tell them who wrote it...it's pretty personal and I wasn't too keen on sharing it a whole bunch, but I've known Dusty for a long time and we've had some stellar lessons and conversations with him and I felt he needed it at the time. So after I finished the story and we said "Amen" and everything and prayed Dusty was like "So what was the name of that story?" so I told him, and he whips out his phone and starts messing with it. I was like "What are you doing?" and he was like "I can't find that story anywhere on the internet...where did you find it? I want to print it off." I was like "It's not online." And he was like "Everything is on online. I'll find it." and I was like "No, seriously, you won't find it online." and he was like "Why not?!" and I was like "Um... cause... uh....this is one of like two copies in existence...." and then he was like "YOU WROTE IT???" ........embarrassing...... 

Tuesday was nuts. The past two weeks there have been a bajillion lightning storms out here...and they are a little scarier than ours because they are super close and super loud and strike the ground a lot more than ours do back at home....Tuesday night it was so close... I sleep by the window so the lightning would flash and light up our whole room and then the thunder would be SO loud! It woke me up three or four times throughout the night and I kept saying..."Sis McMurray.... I think I'm going to get hit by lightning through the window!" haha. She offered to switch beds with me but I was fine :) It was crazy loud though! 
Painting for service. Love the smiles
Wednesday night we went on splits and I went and visited with a woman we've been working with forever named April. She's in her late 30's I think... I'm not sure... But she's less active, and moved here after absolutely EVERYTHING was stolen from her in Arizona and her parents died. Talk about being like Job and starting from scratch!  That night we were going to teach Tithing but it didn't feel right, so during the opening prayer I prayed really hard to know what to teach her...and the thought "Just tell her I love her." kept coming to my mind. So we read in Alma 14 about all the women and children that were burned after Alma and Amulek taught them and we talked about how sometimes God lets hard things happen so that we can learn and grow. How sometimes if we were to receive instant gratification for doing good or instant punishment for doing bad then everyone would be good and not for the sake of being righteous but for the sake of being selfish and getting blessings. We talked about how though sometimes things don't happen the way we think, that doesn't mean that God doesn’t love us.  April told us that she believed in God but she doesn't have faith that He keeps His promises because of everything that has happened to her and how so many promises haven't been met. I asked her if she had received her patriarchal blessing and she said that that was what she was talking about, the promises in it hadn't been fulfilled. We had a lengthy talk on how we need to keep up our end of the bargain and be worthy and also how some promises don't come in this life. Like Jeffrey R. Holland said "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." we talked a lot about faith and the song  from primary kept popping into my head so  I sang it to her. "Faith is know the sun will rise, lighting each new day. Faith is knowing the Lord will hear, my prayers each time I pray. Faith is like a little seed. If planted it will grow. Faith is a swelling within my heart; when I do right I know." The spirit was so strong as I looked her in the eyes and promised her, I said  "April, I promise that as  you live the gospel of Jesus Christ and push forward with faith in your Savior, you will receive the blessings you have been promised." 

Sometimes it's scary to do that... sometimes it's hard to promise them something that you don't know when or if it will happen...but sometimes the Lord takes over your mouth and says so pretty powerful specific blessings and you find yourself in shock from what you have just said. But it works. It always does. I've said so many times "As you read the scriptures you will receive clarity of mind and be able to overcome your addictions." or "As you pray you will build a stronger relationship with your Savior and you will feel more fully of His love in your life."

Friday was awesome! We had zone training meeting and it was super spiritual and really inspired me to be more bold and talk to more random people...(which went really well later that night! We got to talk to a random agnostic guy smoking pot at the park...oh missionary adventures...) And Elder Christoffersen and I sang a duet for the musical number. We sang How Great Thou Art. I wish I had recorded it! Elder Christoffersen sings like a boss!  But yeah, it was really cool. Then we had fun celebrating Sis Russell’s birthday!

Saturday was pretty lame...we got canceled on a lot again and then did service canning green beans and relish. Sunday again we got canceled on a lot....but it was still a good day. We went to a lot of church (got taught about eternal marriage again...ew.)
So yeah. Life is life. It's dandy and great! I love Sis McMurray, and hope we get to stay together one more transfer! We seriously think so much alike... I think we are on the same brain-wave...sometimes it's scary, she'll say something that I was just thinking about and about to say...and it will come out of her mouth and I'll be like "Witch-craft!!" haha. We have a lot of fun :) Transfer calls are next Monday, so if you have any mail to send (or Mom the package you wanted to send) you need to do it this week before Saturday. 

I LOVE YOU ALL!! I hope you have a great week and live the end of the summer to its fullest!!! I can't believe I turn 20 in two weeks... That's so OLD!  ugh... I'm just hoping I don't get transferred right before.
Miss you and can't wait to hear from you! :)

Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Parade beauty!

Dearest Family of mine.
Safety first for the bikers.  I wish I looked that
cute in a helmet.
     Well...not gonna lie. This week was super slow and we didn't get the chance to teach very much. But it was still a mega fun week! We had the opportunity to do a lot of service and interact with a bunch of people.
    Monday last week...was boring....Tuesday too was pretty basic....except Tuesday we went to a relief society activity that was a music night and we got to listen to this awesome cellist and violinist! It was amazing! 
     Wednesday was a bumb day...everyone and their dog canceled on us...and it was hard to go out finding or contacting because we ran out of miles on our car and our area is sooooooo big it's almost impossible to walk around and do it...But Wednesday night we had a ward activity bike ride planned out in Neola, so we borrowed some bikes from the Felkins. Before we went to the ward activity, I ate at a members house who recently moved from Salt Lake and who had parents who lived down there...so she started talking about how the Elders were always over at her parents’ house and she started talking about their favorite Elder, named Elder York who was from Washington too....and I was like "Wait a second! Elder York? As in Elder Spencer York???" And She was like "Yes! Do you know him?" And I was like "Do I know him!!!? Of course! My dad was his bishop when he left! And my little sister spoke at his baptism!!!" it was really funny! The Mormon world is a very small world! She had a lot of funny stories to tell me about him and how his mission has been going. :)
      After dinner the family drove us and our bikes to Neola, and from the Neola chapel they drove us 13 miles up the Uintah Canyon on the Reservation. Over in the Canyon it was pouring rain, so as we started our bike ride we were soaked within a minute or two! It was mostly a downhill bike ride (except for one steep up-hill....ugh....) and it was super fun! It was gorgeous and as the clouds broke open a rainbow showed up. It took us about a half hour-45 min to make it back to the Neola chapel and it was super fun and pretty!...but can I just say that I was still really really wet. There was food served after and we got the chance to interact with a few less actives, which was great! After we had to rush off to get to our coordination meeting on time, and we didn't have time to change so we showed up really wet and got the stake office chairs really wet as well....our high councilman over missionary work said not to worry about it and that it would dry by Sunday... haha
     Thursday was the first official day of UBIC (also known as Uintah Basin in Celebration) It's this three daylong event to celebrate the settling of the Uintah Basin. There is an art show and sports competitions, booths set up, crafts, entertainment, talent shows, concerts, food, and just a whole bunch of random stuff and everybody gathers in Constitution park which is right next to our Stake's stake center (which was hosting the art show)  Thursday night we met with the Clegg boys again and talked about the importance of prayer. I think it was the most involved lesson we've had because after talking about prayer we went into their drive way and cracked out the paint and made prayer rocks with the little boys. They are the cutest!
     Friday was crazy. We had DTM in the morning and then from 11-3 we had service at UBIC helping out with the kids crafts. All the missionaries in the surrounding areas came together to help out and it was crazy! We were helping them make hats and dream catchers and kites and cement slabs with marbles in them and face painting and planting seeds.
Riding in style for the parade!
     Saturday was a crazy fun day... Saturday morning was the UBIC parade which us missionaries signed up for and the Sister missionaries got to ride in the parade on 1960's mustang convertibles! The elders had to walk....sadly. But they had fun too! We had a lot of fun waving at all the people we knew and meeting new people as well! I did get kind of sunburned...but not too bad... I knew I'd someday have a legit farmers tan...Today is that day....
     After we went straight to service again at the craft pavilion and Saturday I painted faces. The kids were super cute and pretty soon all the Hispanic elders gravitated over and wanted me to paint mustaches on them...and then they painted one on me.... I should have gotten a picture! One of them has it on their phone so maybe I'll steal it from him and get them! It was really funny! We had to help clean up after which took an extra hour and we were all starving by the time it was over.    Sunday was long and we went to three different sacrament meetings! We had a less active family make it to church who we had been trying to get to come to church for MONTHS! I was sooooo excited! 

Dumping out old bag!
Loving the new bag - Thanks for
doing the shopping Sharee!
     Also this morning I got my new bag in the mail!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! It is perfect!!!! Sis McMurray kept laughing at me when I put my stuff in it and tried it out because I kept saying "WOW! It's soooo light!!!! Wow!!! My shoulder doesn't hurt at all!!!!" SO THANK YOU! It was perfect.
          When I say the words "I know the church is true. I know that Christ is our Savior and We have a Heavenly Father." I don't take those words lightly, so you need to be aware that there is heavy weight behind them. 
     I love you all and hope that you have a blast at the coast again this week! Keep it touch!!!! MISS YOU! Love you to the moon and back!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Uno analogy!

Dearest Family,
Lenise is happy!
    Where to begin where to begin.
    Monday after emails, we had a lesson with Dusty...it was Sis McMurray's idea and we had an object lesson and played Uno...it turned into a really spiritual lesson and really affected Dusty. You know how when you play Uno how everyone gangs up on  you when you only have one card left and you get really frustrated and feel like you'll never win? Well that's how life is too. I've seen it so much recently that when our investigators or less actives are getting closer to baptism or the priesthood or the temple, Satan and his followers kick it up a notch and make their life a terrible mess! So we talked about endurance and pushing through trials, and how trials are preparing us for greater blessings. It was fun and spiritual...and you really get to see people's bad sides when you play dirty rotten card games like Uno...
    Tuesday was super busy...Tuesdays are always super busy... haha. Bro Crozier (my adopted grandfather/ward mission leader in White Rocks) introduced us to the grandson of an elderly couple in their branch who was staying for the summer and who wasn't a member. His name is John and he's 23. He's majoring in Mathematics while simultaneously working on writing a science fiction novel. He was a really interesting guy. Super logical but also in touch with spiritual things too. It was interesting to give him the first lesson and hear all his ideas about God. He said he believed in Deism (pretty much believing in a supreme creator who created the universe and then sits back and just watches everything happen) except he believes that God intervenes every now and then because he had an experience in 6th grade where he prayed to feel comfort and he had a really strong spiritual experience. It was fun teaching him and we hope to be able to meet up with him again soon. We went to have dinner with him and his grandparents last night and then teach another lesson, except when we got there the house was packed with people because their family reunion had just started and we couldn't teach with a bajillion little kids running around and wrestling on the floor...So we'll see what happens. 
    Tuesday was interesting also because our phone stopped working...like completely. No incoming calls or texts and not outgoing ones either. So this week was a little frustrating without a phone, which meant people could only get a hold of us on our land line in the mornings and we would have to periodically stop at churches or the family history center to use their phone and get ahold of people. Wednesday it was funny because after we went to the Addiction Recovery Program meeting with a couple of our less actives, we showed up at our coordination meeting and one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Christofferson got out of his car and was like "What the heck sisters! We've called you like 3 times!" and we were like "We told Elder Valdez, we don't have a phone right now!" and he looked all sheepish and was like "Oh. Right. Sorry."
    Friday was President Interviews. And it just so happened to be while we were waiting for President to show up that I got the email from mom about Great Grandma passing away...yeah I had to leave the room because I was tearing up... I didn't expect to be so sad. But it passed pretty quickly. She's happier, I know it. She's been waiting to be with Grandpa again for a while.

Vanessa's baptism!
    Saturday was Vanessa's baptism and she asked me to sing at it. I sang Savior Redeemer of my Soul and had to try really hard not to cry while doing it. Her baptism was really spiritual and powerful. Not only did she get baptized but her husband the next day received the priesthood, which was AWESOME! They are moving this week though to Las Vegas so we are going to have to keep up with them via Facetime until we get the other missionaries involved. They have already found their church building in Vegas and live 3 miles from the temple down there. V loves the temple and can't wait to go inside! 
    Sunday was crazy. We were all over the place. Misty, my redheaded friend and ward missionary gave her farewell talk this Sunday and we went to her goodbye dinner... All of these amazing people I've become friends with out here in Roosevelt are all leaving on missions and it makes me sad, but I know what they’re doing (because I'm doing it too) and it's the best thing they could do at this time in their lives. 
    Goodness gracious! What a week! And I've just started another one. Well, I hope you are all having fun this week with reunion people! I've been keeping Grandpa Merkley in my prayers! Tell mom not to laugh too hard...or we'll run out of Tylenol for her laughing headaches! Have fun! Love you all and miss you to pieces! Have a fun summer! Tell Riley to keep singing with that pretty voice of hers! The church is true!!!

    Sister Lenise Diane Volmer