Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Training video movie star

        Dear Family,
Saying goodbye to friends
     First off, I need to say how sorry I am that Grandpa Merkley passed away. It was really hard to not be there, but I know that this is where I need to be. And I know that he is no longer in pain and that he is so much happier where he is at. I am so so so grateful for my knowledge of eternal families! It makes me so sad that so many don't understand that they can be with their loved ones forever! I sent my family an email about my memories of Grandpa, and they can share that if they want. It has just been such a crazy and hectic week for me. 
Okay, so my new address is:
Sister Lenise Volmer
250 W. 200 S.
Springville, UT 84663
     Earlier last week (it feels like forever ago...) I found out I was being tansferred. I was really sad to leave Orem, but the spirit testified to Sis Wicker and I that it was time for us to move on and that Elders where part of the Lord's plan for the area. We talked with Rachel and were able to get Gelato with her and say goodbye. She told us she prayed about meeting with the Elders and said that she received the answer that she should keep meeting with them, which is really good!!! So I just keep in touch with her now through facebook and keep up with her and what she is doing and how she is progressing. We spent all tuesday packing and saying goodbye to people. It was sad because Sis Wicker got a really bad cold and was really sick which made it hard for her to pack and visit and update the areabook for the new elders. I gave her some of my mucinex and cold medicine which I think helped. 
     Wednesday morning we woke up early to finish cleaning our apartment and head out. Sis Arnoldson, the woman who sent mom a pic of all of our luggage and called her, gave us a ride to the transfer chapel for the meeting. She is the sweetest! I was really sad that I only got six weeks with Sis Wicker because we had a lot of fun together!. During transfers I was getting really anxious because I wasn't getting called...and it wasn't until after Sis Wicker had recieved her new companions (she's in a trio) near the end that I found out that I was moved to the Provo YSA 19th Stake! Yup...I'm over 9 wards of YSA....crazy right?? My new companion is named Sis Gulbranson and she is GREAT! She is such a sweet heart and super super nice and chill. We laugh a lot already and get along well! She is from British Columbia Canada, from a small town called Vanderhoof. She is from a family of Seven, and she has four older brothers and a little brother and sister. She grew up on a farm and likes to sing Frozen with me in the car....I think she is just swell! Our new area is an adventure....Our stake president is the President at the MTC and he pretty much wrote Preach My Gospel....he is super intimidating...but really really nice! He invited us over for thanksgiving. But he also has access to our areabook app on our ipads and uses our areabook as an example when he flies to other missions to introduce the ipads to the missionaries...this next week he is flying to Japan to show everyone our areabook....AH! CRAZY! There is a lot more work to be done here than there was in Orem, so we are kept really busy, although we do still do a bunch of contacting. The Ward Mission Leaders (who are all my age, and a little older...weird...) are on fire! They are so missionary minded and focused and they are all RM's so they know what they are doing, so it rocks! I'm excited to serve here where it is so fast paced and moving! Oh and by the way we have a baptism next week for a guy name Chayanne Jiminez. I will have to take pictures and send them! He is so prepared! 
     I love my new house. Yes, and I do mean house! We get this super cute little house all to ourselves! The landlords live next door and they are also the senior couple in the area! Its an great,  I missed couches and now we have one! I didn't get one in Orem...I used to lay on the floor at night during planning because there was no couches and I didn't want to sit on the hard floor! But now we have a couch! YAY!
    So at the transfer meeting on Wednesday, Sis Caldwell, the mission office secretary, pulled me and my new companion Sis Gulbranson aside, along with a bunch of other sisters. (Sis Megan Nielson was there along with two of my previous companions; Sis Nomo and Sis Albrechtsen. Also Sis Naef from Pasco, and a couple other sisters I had served around.) She told us that we had been picked by the mission president to be in a new church training film, to help train Sister Missionaries how to be good tour guides and hosts at temple open houses, because so many temples were being opened. She pretty much told us that we had to be at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in an hour to get told wardrobe rules....So we dropped all my stuff off at our house and we went straight to the studio...It was crazy because there was this guard at the front gate and we had to tell him we were there for a wardrobe check for Sterling....which we had no idea what that meant....So he gave us little badges that said LDS Motion Pictures Studio Casting (super official...) and let us through the gate. We were then taken into the studio where we met our director and her assistant. Our Director's name was Anne, and she was a little older, and she was very sarcastic and funny. She is a convert and teaches acting at BYU provo. Her assistant Ashley was super nice and fun to talk to. They told us what to wear and how to do our hair and makeup, and pretty much told us "no green!" because there would be a green screen. Then they told us to be at the studio at 7am and that we wouldn't be done until 6pm for the next two days and that we needed to cancel all of our teaching appointments...which made our numbers and lessons really low...but that's not our fault! 
Sister missionaries turned into actresses
      So bright and early we showed up the next day at the studio. There was a makeup artist and wardrobe director there, which was crazy. When we were on set between takes she would run out and hairspray us, or powder our faces, or adjust our hair or clothes. Her name was Becky Swazzi and she had done makeup and hair and costuming for the Joseph Smith movies and a lot of the Bible movies too, so it was super neat to meet her and she was super nice and loved to talk with us about her own missionary experiences. Back stage is just like what it is in movies....there is equipment everywhere, camera and sound men everywhere. They were either on film dollies or they had what they called Turtle packs which were like harnesses with the camera coming over their shoulders on a bar and dangling from a cord to help them hold the camera steady or something. There was a bunch of lighting and a guy who held what they called a Boom microphone over our heads when we spoke. There were also two professional actresses that they brought in who played the part of our trainers. the film is like we are in a class and they are training us how to be good tour guides. Their names were Britney (blonde and super skinny) and Jenna (Brunette with pixie cut and a super funny!) They had known each other for a while and had acted together before. They were HILARIOUS! They had so much fun pretending to be one of us sister missionaries! Britney had just returned from her mission in France (Her and Sis Nomo had fun speaking to eachother in French) They were a very dynamic duo and kept all of us Sister having fun and laughing. Especially during lunch when they would tell us stories from their acting classes and impersonate 60 year old women named Vern and Edna who had jersey accents! I almost choked on my food we were laughing so much! The second day they brought in extras to be people attending the open house and it was fun to get to know some member families, and even some nonmember actors who came. One guy was catholic and I had no idea he wasn't a member! He talked to me on set for like 30-40 minutes about temples and the book of mormon. I just thought he was trying to stay in character....nope...he really didn't know, and so I answered a ton of his questions. There was also this family with the cutest kids who I befriended and we had fun acting together and saying silly things in the back ground while filming. I pretty much humiliated myself on camera...We were supposed to give examples of "No no's" and they had me stand on apple boxes in front of the Green Screen and yell "THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME! COME ON INTO THE TEMPLE EVERYONE!!! WOOOOHHH!!!!"....yeah I was like a cheerleader and the Director and Producer loved it and laughed a ton... I have a feeling I may have scarred myself internationally.... I also had a cool opportunity to be in a scene with some actors who were playing a pregnant couple. The wife pulled me aside and asked "What does it mean to be sealed in the temple as a family?" and I was able to say "Being sealed in the temple means that we get to be with our loved one forever." That was such a tender mercy. The spirit testified to me so strongly that I was speaking truth. Little did I know that the next day I would find out that Grandpa had passed away. Yes, families are eternal.
Back stage

Joseph Smith Set

The set looks real!

      Saturday was a normal day. I got up and worked out and listened to so me general conference talks while I finished unpacking....I felt inspired to listen to the talk Mountains to Climb by Elder Eyring....Little did I know that later that afternoon I would recieve the news that Grandpa had passed away. That was hard. I was emotional all evening, and even worse the next morning. But talking to President McCune, and Talking to you all helped me a ton. I feel a lot better and know that Grandpa is happier and healthier and in a better place. I really am so thankful for eternal families. I know that ours is forever. I'm so thankful for the many opportunities I have received this week and the experiences I have had. I love you all and miss you! Thank you so much for your support and love! You are in my prayers! Especially mom and Grandma Merkley. Tell Grandma she is amazing and that I'm so thankful for her example. You are my sunshine Grandma. I love you!
Be safe and have a great week everyone!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

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