Monday, March 30, 2015

Last one!

3-30-15
Dear Family                                                                                      
How do you put 18 months into words?
You can't.
Simple as that.
This week has brought a lot of reflection, and the underlying feelings I have had this last week is so much sadness and so much gratitude I feel I can't contain it all. 
Volmer Zone Olympics
     Writing down my memories and thoughts every week has helped me to reflect on the fun and spiritual experiences I've had. It's almost been like therapy for me, and I'm actually incredibly sad that this is my last letter. 
     So what do I tell you about? My spiritual revelatory moment this week when we found out that Amanda has breast cancer in both breast along with terminal brain cancer, and I discovered the power that the atonement truly has to cover all of God's children? Or do I tell you about the funny Sister Volmer Olympics I put on for my last district activity...or that time last week I flagged one of our investigators down by jumping out of our car and chasing him down the street!
     Yup. Monday was a doozey. I declared we play all the games I had wanted to play my whole mission, but nobody had ever let me. So we got nylon tights and put an orange down the leg of one and tied them around our waists and played croquet by swinging our hips to get the orange to hit another orange. And then we put shower caps on with shaving cream on our heads and then threw cheetos at each other to try and get them to stick to their heads. And then Sis Robertson smashed a bunch of shaving cream in my face! That cheeky monkey! And then we put nylon stockings on our heads and fed each other pudding through them! sooooo funny! Especially Elder Simonsen who was being such a girl about the whole thing! And then we put flour in nylon socks and had a flour war by hitting each other with them! Epic p-day if I do say so myself! And very very messy! But it will be one for the books! 
    Monday night we met P. L. , who is a new investigator....except he was on some serious pain meds for his back and he was totally out of it...It totally zoned out while we were reciting the first vision and had no idea what we were talking about when we asked him what his thoughts were on it a few minutes later! haha! But we are seeing him tonight, and hopefully he won't be on drugs.
     Tuesday was crazy! 
     We had a temple training for the upcoming open house and I finally got to see the video that I was in back in November! Haha super cheesey and I'm in it a lot more than I would have liked to have been. They said they would send us a link so hopefully I can send it to you all so you can see it. 
Trying to get to the meeting was super stressful because we were supposed to give the Spanish sisters a ride, but Sis Inman had to be there early because she is a temple coordinator and the Spanish sisters lost their phone so we couldn’t get a hold of them. So we called some other sisters to give them a ride, but by the time we got to the meeting early, we got a call from the other sisters saying they had locked their keys in their house and couldn’t give the sisters a ride because they were stuck and we couldn’t call the other sister because they didn't have a phone! We were making calls like crazy trying to find someone to give them a ride so they wouldn’t hate us for forgetting them! We didn't forget...they just didn’t have phone. 
     It was Sis McCune's birthday that day and we all gave her a flower with a note on it because she loves gardening and we all held our flowers up like a little garden and read her a cute little message about how she had helped all of us grow. 
     D is doing a lot better, thank heavens! He met with President McCune this last week and it did a world of good for him! It also helps that his brother got home from his mission this last week to give him support. He is being baptized the end of May now to give him some time to sort things out, and I hope I will be able to attend. 
     Also, I mentioned A this last week. She is struggling so badly. She just got diagnosed with severe breast cancer on top of her other cancer....I try not to think about her and everything too much or else I start getting really emotional. All I can do is love her, and I pray for her like crazy. She isn't supposed to last to the end of the summer and I hope I get to see her again before she passes. We are working hard to help her with the word of wisdom so she can be baptized before she goes. She refuses to receive a priesthood blessing which breaks my heart. She thinks someone else needs it more than her. Are you kidding??? Nobody needs the Lord's blessings as much as she does! How often do we deny the atonement's help in saving us. How often have I rejected the gift Christ so freely gave me. How often do we break his heart, by handing him back that gift and saying "No thanks. I don't need it." when in reality we need it so so so bad. It has been a very tender subject for me lately, because I know how much I used to think that way at the beginning of my mission. God loves all his children. He has enough room and blessings for all of us. 
     We had even more zone trainings this last week. My last ones. They were pretty technology centered and technical.
     Friday I had exchanges with Hermana Villegas and Herman Rackley. Hermana Rackley reminds me of Sarah Rex in High school. She says it how it is and I had a blast with the two of them. I discovered that Hermana Rackley has the same obsession with Jane Austin movies as I do and so we decided we are going to go on a Jane Austen Tour someday together. It's sad to make such good friends with people right before I go home. But it was a day to remember! I felt the spirit so strong as I listened to those two sisters teach, and I had no idea what they were even saying...The spirit testifies of truth no matter what language, I have learned. The gospel is true for all kindreds, tongues, and people and I'm thankful for the chance I have had to experience that here in Utah. 

Carter's baptism
     Saturday was busy because we had to oversee a baptism taking place with converts from California who wanted to be baptized in Utah. They were D's nieces and so it was cool to meet D's family and see his support system. We then had another baptism with a little ten year old boy named Carter H. His mom has severe health problems and takes the sacrament at home. They all live with Carter's grandparents. We felt the spirit strongly at his baptism.
     We were so busy this week and went on so many splits! We almost went on a three way split this week because we are in a trio. People are coming out of the woodwork here and I wish I could stay to see what the ends of their stories are like.
     I had to say goodbye to J yesterday and that was hard. Her adopted mom is the best too! Mom, I will have to introduce you to her while we are here. She is the cutest! I also had to say goodbye to S and T, our Russian investigators. I will have to stay in touch with Sis Inman and Robertson to see how they progress. We also teach this funny little Hispanic man named G who is so stubborn, but has such a big heart, and I got to teach him yesterday on his front porch. He says he thinks he will never become Mormon even though all of his family is. I think otherwise. It will just take some time. That's the recipe with most people; time, patience, and a lot of love. 
Saying goodbye to investigators.
     These last 18 months have taught me so much by means of love, service, and sacrifice. All the credit for everything accomplished on my mission goes to the Lord. I feel like I was just His instrument in forming the melody that makes up the masterpiece of my mission. I will say it again and again; My mission means everything to me. But it's not about me. I wanted to change people, but these people who I have come to love, and care, and serve, have changed me. Their words and testimonies have cut me to the very center, and I will never be the same.
     My Savior has become my very best Friend, on whom I can rely for anything. My Heavenly Father has become my constant who I could never deny nor forsake.
     I will miss the sandpaper knees, the chapped knuckles, the rushing, the planning, the meetings, the inspiration, the fast pace, the look in President McCune's eyes (He can stare into your soul, I swear) the smiling happy members, I will miss the way the spirit lights up people's faces, and that overwhelming whoosh of joy that comes when the words "yes" come out of their mouth when you invite them to enter the waters of baptism, or as you see them step through the veil into the celestial room in the temple. Nothing. Nothing nothing nothing compares to these moments, these memories, and these celestial experiences. I will remember them every day for the rest of my life, and into eternity. 
     I want to express my appreciation for all the prayers and fasting done in my behalf and in the behalf of those who I worked with and taught. I am so grateful for the support I have received from family and friends. I'm thankful for all the emails, letters, packages, and love I have been sent. I'm so grateful for my family for letting me go for a short time so I could help others be with their family for eternity. My mission is the greatest work of my life so far, and I intend to do a whole lot more of it. 
The gospel is True!!
     I want to bare my testimony that I truly truly do know that this is Christ's gospel on the earth today. This is the path that leads to eternal joy and happiness. I know my Savior lives. I know it. And I have discovered that that is a truth that you can't take away from me. I've seen the miracles. I've seen the change. I've felt the light inside me, and I can't let it go, because so many others need it. I know this is God's work. I know this was where I was meant to be. I know God has so many more things in store for me. I know families really are eternal. I know this life is just a small moment, and as we endure we will be raised up to experience God's fullness of Joy, which is beyond anything we can imagine. I look forward to the day in which I can meet my Savior and my Father in Heaven and live together with them, and my family, and the people I've met and taught on my mission who accepted the gospel. Until then I will happily sing my love for the gospel and gratitude.
     In the words of a song I've grown to love from my mission:
"The hardest thing I've ever loved to do,
Is getting on that plane back home to you.
In a million ways completely torn apart,
as a land so far away still holds my heart.
In the most sincere prayer I've ever prayed,
I thank my God for each and every day,
and for the woman I've come to be,
as I walk up and kiss my mama's cheek."
     So here it
goes. The end of a very beautiful and life changing chapter, and on to another one. I love you all to the moon and back. And I'll be seeing you real soon :)
    Signing out for the last time as Sister Volmer.
All my love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sprint to the Finish


3-23-15
Sis. Robertson, new comp. Sis Inman, Jules
and Lenise.
Dearest Family,
     Yet another week on the fly! Ever since I signed my “Sprint to the Finish” papers, God has been holding me to my word. Busy busy busy to the finish. I had the amazing chance this week to go to the temple three different times in three different temples. 
     Last P-day we had a district activity and we played Tennis (I think I dislocated my shoulder...Haha) and basketball. Elder Pastor was getting transferred along with Elder Thompson which was really sad...but Elder Pastor had these floral sunglasses he was wearing and he made like a billion 3 pointers and kept saying "it's the shades" haha. 
     Tuesday was a whirlwind day. We were able to go to the temple in the morning at the Mt. Timpinogas temple. It is a beautiful temple!! Absolutely gorgeous! That day was busy and we had some great lessons. I told you about W and his legal stuff last week, so we have to wait, but there is another foster kid here named J who we have started teaching and we taught them the Restoration. It went really well, and I'm excited to see how well J progresses. I invited them to my final testimony, and they warned me that if they came they would be jumping around in the back and cheering if they went...(well, they went and were jumping around in the back like maniacs where nobody could see them but me! At least they weren't cheering loudly like they threatened) 
Saying goodbye to the mission - then working
for another week.
     Wednesday was super surreal and interesting... We went to the transfer meeting that morning to pick up Sis Inman, our new companion. We are a trio now! Girl party! She is a sweetheart and super lady like and dignified. She is super awesome and loves to laugh at me and Sis Robertson being weird together. It's been a great week together. It was weird sitting up on the stand and looking down at all the other missionaries during the transfer meeting and watching the new missionaries come in. We were then given a sack lunch and all jumped in some cars to head out to Salt Lake. (When I say we I mean all the departing missionaries who left the next day, except for me and Sis Tripp, we are both staying a few extra weeks) I got the chance to ride in Pres. McCune’s car with him and his wife and a couple other missionaries. It's always fun to talk to him and his wife because they are so opposite. It was awkward because Pres. McCune kept making flirting jokes with the other missionaries who were going home, hinting at them to date each other... Haha super awkward. But on the car ride and found out that our mission is having a reunion this upcoming October after Pres. and Sis. McCune finish their mission! Yay! It's going to be called the Mcunion! Haha! Felt bad for one of the Elders because his legs were really cramped in the car. We then went to the Salt Lake Temple and did a session. It was really interesting! I loved all the paintings on the walls in the super old-fashioned interior. It was soooooo beautiful and I learned a lot of new things from just doing a live session there. It was kind of cool seeing some of the other missionary's families greet them in the temple! It was really interesting to meet some of their parents after having served with quite a few of them. It was just a super neat experience and so interesting. Bro Syd from my Orem orchard area was there and he is a huge church history buff so he was able to tell me a bunch of really interesting facts about the Salt Lake temple! I want to go again! It was neat. 
     After the temple we took some pictures and then headed back to Utah County, and went to Tucano’s for dinner! All you can eat Brazilian food/meat. I was proud of myself for not absolutely stuffing myself. It was yummy! We then headed over to the chapel for the final testimony meeting! It was a really neat experience! We only had about 2 to 3 min to bare our testimony, because there were about 28 missionaries who needed to share, and somehow we only went a little over an hour! It was an amazing meeting and the spirit was so strong as a ton of missionaries bore testimony of Jesus Christ. You can't deny that much fire power! The people that I saw there were Travis, Emily Strong, Justine Olsen, Rachel Goodrich, Camry and Christa Balero, Stephanie Crandall, Mom’s relatives (Dennis and Cloene -they were so sweet to come!), the Hair family and a bunch of other people. Sis McMurray was there too! Dusty couldn't make it because he had a funeral which made me sad L  A ton of RMs were there from our mission and it was crazy to see them all again. 
     After the meeting we all went back to the mission home. Sis Tripp and I spent the night there with the rest of the returning missionaries. After we got there we all got our stuff and changed into PJs and then got back together again for dessert.  It was weird sitting in my owl pajamas surrounded by other missionaries in pajamas.  We all sat around and talked about super funny stories from our mission and also really spiritual miracles that we saw. It was really neat to talk and listen to other's stories and experiences. It was also cool to hear Pres.  McCune’s testimony and then advice to the departing missionaries. I was super tired and almost fell asleep on the couch so when it was time to go to bed everybody was knocked out. The next morning it was strange as missionary families came to pick them up or they headed off to the airport. One of them got released at the Mission home over the phone. Wow! and that was weird to see his father telling him to take his name tag off. He was sad he didn't get to have an airport moment so all of us missionaries went outside at the end of the driveway with his mom, held up a big sign and cheered for him as he came out of the house. It was weird that everyone else was going home....and I was going back to work! Haha
     The rest of the week was crazy busy! We had a ton of lessons and lots of miracles. One of our less actives who is returning to activity was really scared to pay tithing because they were running low on money and only had enough for food for the month. We committed her to keep the law of tithing and she decided she would. She texted us later that week letting us know that she had paid her tithing and they had run out of money for food. She then followed up the text with saying that out of nowhere she had found a savings bond and also got a call from her tax return saying they had messed up and that they owed her more money!!! Crazy miracles! I remember making the promise to her that God would provide and really praying he would. It's amazing when your faith comes through in the lives of others. Her faith must have been so strong for this to happen. Saturday I was able to go to the Provo temple with a recent convert I worked with in YSA named Ali. Sis Jones was there and it was good to see her again. We had some amazing lessons with J and D is doing so much better! He is planning on being baptized mid April now! We have been going on splits like crazy people and running around trying to contact people and get lessons in. We had a total of 43 lessons this week! Success! That number is real people who listened to the word of God is week and had their testimonies strengthened, not by me, but by the spirit!! Great week!!! 
     There is so much more, but I don't have enough time anymore! I love you lots and will see you soon! There is still so much work to be done in my last week and a half! Hoorah for Israel!!!
All my love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Monday, March 16, 2015

So Busy!

Don't mess with these Sisters, they are ready to convert
 - after they smile!
3-16-15
Yoo Hoo! Family!
Well, I don't even know where to begin.
     I'm trying to wrap my mind around everything that happened this week. haha. Last Monday we played tennis with Jules, our new golden investigator and that was super fun! Also Elder Cornish taught me how to make a bowl on a potter wheel.... I'm not any good at it but it was fun! Also we met up with A.  and his wife L.   A. isn't a member and L.  is. We have been teaching A, and  he is just starting to get over his fear of baptism, and so we told him to pray about a baptismal date. They bought us dinner....can you guess what they bought us??? Sushi..... yup....I was a little hesitant...because it was made out of raw fish, sea weed, eel, and had fish eggs on the top....and I'll be perfectly honest....it was downright nasty! haha I had to force a few bites down and it was just GROSS! Don't eat sushi everyone....It would have been easier if I could take smaller bites, but they were shockingly large and you had to shove it all in at once...super gross. Never again. haha! Tuesday we seriously spent out and about finding a bunch of people which was fun. It's always good to brush up on your door approaches. Oh and we made some cookies for Sister Edstrom because it was her birthday. It was the simplest home-made Oreo recipe and it tasted soooooo good! I will have to make some when I get home! Super easy!
     Wednesday after all of our technology meetings we went on exchanges, and I took over the area for the first time on exchanges...and we were bookin it everywhere! Super busy! I was with Sis Thomas from Portland and she is such a sweet heart! She is a farm girl and reminded me a lot of Sis Gulbranson! We were running everything that day! We had some amazing lessons. We taught D this week who is really struggling. I don't know why, but we did Exchanges two days in a row, so both days I had to teach the Law of Chastity without Sis Robertson...but both times it went really well. We taught it to D, and tied in the priesthood and what an honor it would be to have priesthood. His eyes were just lighting up the whole time as we talked about the importance of purity. We watched "Staying Within the Lines" with him, which I highly recommend you watch with Carl or something. Watch it with Riley too. It is sooooo good! And it talks about the importance of staying away from pornography and being worth for missions. SO GOOD! 

     Oh I forgot! On Tuesday Amanda got married!!!!! YES! YAY! One step closer to baptism. Her wedding was super simple and great! It was supposed to start at 4:45....but nobody even showed up until 5:10. So we ended up going to Amanda's house and packing up a bunch of the food and center pieces and taking them over for her to the chapel. It was a simple ceremony in the Relief society room with no decorations except for pretty drapes and white lights. She wore a black dress with a purple and silver tiara with her pink hair. Classy Amanda :) love her to death! Pray for her please!! 

Pottery lesson
     Wednesday night, I had to use a GPS to get everywhere because we were so busy and I still don't know all the streets and stuff and we got lost and were late to our chapel tour! It was intense and super stressful, and I felt like most the time Sis Thomas thought I was nuts! haha! But later that night we met with J and had an amazing lesson with J. We taught her the restoration...Oh man, I wish you could just see the light in her eyes. She seriously glows, there is no other way to describe it. She is seriously so prepared. She is getting baptized sometime next month, and hopefully I will be there for it, but regardless I'm just so glad she is taking this step. She is absolutely amazing, and so positive all the time! She loves the beauty of the mountains and when we taught her about the plan of salvation she understood it soooo well! She practically taught it to us!
     The next day I was with Sis Tripp on exchanges, and that was another crazy day! Sis Tripp was training me though, I'm pretty sure. She is leaving April 9th and helped me so much with organization. We had a crazy busy spiritual day...one of the guys we taught named B is seeing a crazy spiritual therapist who has tried to cast spirits out of him and his room....we had to warn him not to meet with her anymore, but his grandma and mother condone it and keep saying she is an active member of the church...I don't know about you, but only those who have the priesthood can do those things and they don't use their skills for money and therapy....so that was a little disturbing and he was telling us, the spirit was just not there. Crazy.
     Friday and Saturday were super busy again with so many things. The Parramores were baptized...but guess what....they showed up 50 min late to their own baptism!!!! They had to run to Walmart to buy white underwear and they forgot their dresses and cake at home so they had to go back! Everyone was waiting there forever and Sis Robertson eventually volunteered me to lead some music while we did a sing along to fill up the time. That girl...hahah love her to death, can't wait to hang out with her all the time at college :)  It was super stressful and our zone leaders were there to be witnesses and I felt bad because we were taking up their proselyting time. But once it got started it was really good! Super spiritual and all that jazz! Those girls are so cute and they glowed in their little white dresses. 
     Yesterday was certifiably insane.
     So....we kind of found out that D was caught breaking the word of wisdom in his room....which was really sad. We tried to go see him but he wouldn't see us. It seriously broke my heart. Ripped in two. And then we found out that W, who was on date for baptism, can't get baptized because he is on probation for a crime he says he didn't do. He is 15 for Pete's sake! How can you be on parole! And then we came across a less active we had been trying to meet with and she was just sobbing her eyes out and going through a divorce, so we taught her about the atonement and used Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk None Were With Him. Sometimes you have nights as a missionary where the world seems like a dark place and you feel like you aren't making a difference....but the spirit whispered to me that I need to be the difference. I think, "God, why would you let this happen without sending them help?" and I receive the answer "I sent them you..." Humbling beyond words.
     So this week we are being made into a trio, because I leave in less than three weeks, so we are going to have girl party! Woot woot!! Also remember my final testimony is this Wednesday at 7 pm at 1600 N 900 E Provo, just north east of the BYU creamery. 
     Well I love you and miss you all! I pray for you! Thanks for the cute videos of the children’s and keeping me up to date! 
Love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Crazy!


3-9-15
    Dearest family,
   Well another crazy week in the life of a sister missionary. Yup. I'm getting this email out late again because I've been doing so much post mission prep today because it is the only day I can. I don't like it. I have been trying very hard not to think about going home and how scared I am to return to the world...but everywhere I go people are asking me when I am going home, and last night in the middle of weekly planning sister Robertson was counting on her fingers and I asked her what she was doing and she said "counting how many days you have left....its 25..." And I was like "HEY!!!"
        

But seriously, the work here is going amazing! We had a few cancelations, but God provides and we saw some miracles. Tuesday was a meeting day. We had part 1 of our mission leadership council which was super intense! It was all about how God trusts this mission SO much and how we were all selected at this crucial time to be leaders in the mission as the world implements "being Disciples of Christ in the Digital age" and how it was up to us to teach the other missionaries the principles behind obedience, especially in regards to new iPad policies and trainings. As of his last week, we are no longer piloting iPads, but testing them now, and all US missions, and Canada and Europe will be using iPads from here on out. And if we miss use them they won't be taking them away, because just taking them from us won't teach us how to use technology righteously for the rest of our lives, we will just be guided as we make mistakes to turn to the lord and use technology for his purposes. We are not iPad missionaries, but the Saviors missionaries who just happen to use iPads as a tool. We had a four hour training later on Tuesday with the whole mission in which Elder Clark of the seventy and Brother Donaldson from the church technology department came and gave us a super intense training on how to change our nature, not our behavior and how we need to be vaccinated from unrighteous use of technology instead of quarantined. It was really overwhelming and exciting and tiring and cool. I will have to tell you more about it when I can actually talk to you and show you some of the quotes they used from general authorities about it. I think it would be good for parents to use with their kids!
     So that was a crazy day, and that Tuesday is when I got super sick. I had a really bad cold all week long, which meant my bag was constantly full of used tissues and I sounded like a man! Haha! But there were still some amazing things that happened. 
     Wednesday morning we finished up with part 2 of Mission Leadership council, and we got the new ipads! I have a brand new loner Ipad for my last month, while everyone else gets brand new ones of their very own that they are required to purchase. We were super excited about that because I thought I wouldn't get one because I was leaving so soon and that I would have to be on paper for my last few weeks! Tender mercy! It was awesome! Then we spent all afternoon with both sets of our zone leaders planning for our zone training meetings. Luckily this week we didn't have exchanges because we were so busy and I was super sick and tired most of the time! 
Kacie's Baptism
     Thursday morning we had our first Zone training meeting and it went really well! This month we are focusing on our missionary purpose and it is really cool to hear the testimonies of so many missionaries who are just so dedicated! It's crazy! We did some fun role playing and a bunch of other training and at the end, Sister Tripp and I were able to bare our testimonies because it was our last zone training meeting. Later that evening we had a baptism! Her name is Kacie Dickson and she is in her early 20s and she has been waiting to get baptized for a long time and has been so prepared. Her husband was less active, but he was able to baptize her, and it was a really fun upbeat baptism. I had to speak at it, even though I sounded like a man, but it all went really well. I spoke on the Holy Ghost, and it gave me a chance to reflect on how much I value His friendship and company.
     Saturday was our second Zone training meeting and it went super well! We had a lot of discussion on the atonement and it was amazing. We read the Seminary Donuts story with them (look it up online! It is a great analogy!) And then at the end of the whole meeting I sang Savior Redeemer of My Soul for them and bore my testimony. I'm not gonna lie, I got really emotional. I love that zone and we are super close, and I have loved my mission so much, and baring my testimony of how important and special it has been to me and also my testimony of the Savior...I was on the border of the full on Ugly cry...but don't worry I kept it together pretty well. It was a really spiritual meeting. Saturday we also met the most golden investigator! She is 16 and is living with an active family that has practically adopted her. She is from Columbia but sounds more like she has an Australian accent and she loves the gospel so much already. Her name is Julianna and she wants to be an English major too with an emphasis in creative writing and publishing and editing, so we get along super well! She is fantastic! We will have to get her baptized before I leave!
     Sunday was super hectic and crazy! Once one appointment falls behind, all the rest do too!
     We had an appointment with a family who had Russian relatives living with them who wanted to know about the gospel but couldn’t speak English. So we had like three translators there who were talking over each other the whole time and whenever we said a simple sentence it took them forever to translate it which made us realize they were going waaaay more in depth than they needed to. Which was really frustrating and confusing. We went a half hour over and needed to get to dinner but the RM we were with just kept saying "This is more important, and you are going to be late." and was getting annoyed at us for wanting to be punctual and get to our dinner without them hating us. Thankfully dinner was super kind and funny and awesome! Their names were the Porters and they were just dandy! But also that Russian Couple really felt the spirit and want to learn more....so we will see how that goes.
     The work is moving forward! It is grand and glorious! We have the twins’ baptism coming up this next week and I will have to send pictures of that. I'm so thankful for this chance to share my love of the Savior with others and to serve Him. Thank you for the prayers and all the help! I'm still learning tons and growing and changing. I feel like I'm not where I want to be yet before I go home, but I'm still learning lots and tons. Love you all and miss you! 

Love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Work, work, work!


March 2, 2015
Dearest Family and friends....
     Well I have been informed that the cat is out of the bag now that my flight plans have been sent
Waterfall hike
out! Haha. Yup!!! I got accepted to BYU spring term and I will be coming home April 2nd! Crazy!!! That is so so crazy for me! Sis Robertson keeps reminding me that a moth from today I will being going home and I can't wrap my mind around it. And though I am so so so stoked to have gotten into BYU, I am so so so sad that my mission is drawing to a close. But I'm ready to work my guts out these next four weeks and make each moment count! It's going to be a good month of being a missionary! 
      So for starters this email is going to be all over the place at the beginning. My final testimony will be March 18th in Provo at 7pm. The address is on the facebook event, and all those family members who live in Utah are welcome to come! Same with friends. 
    Saturday I checked my email on my iPad and saw the news that I had gotten into BYU. We started cheering and jumping up and down and Sis Robertson kept saying "you’re going to college! You is smart!!!" Haha it was a happy day!!

     Last Monday was super fun because the aspen zone all got together and we went hiking to this waterfall that was a lot of fun! It was a little cold, but overall it was good to talk with everyone and have a grand old time! I love that zone, we have so much fun! It was cool to watch some rock climbers repel down the waterfall. Tuesday was a crazy day. I went on exchanges with one of the sister, named Sis Edstrom and she is super cute and a hard worker....we had a super awkward moment though, when we mixed up the address for our appointment and our dinner address...we pulled up to this huge house and were like "whoa." The address said the apt was in a downstairs apartment so we ended up going through this huge gate and walking around to the back of the house where there was a downstairs sliding glass door but the room through the door did not look like an apartment...and then there was this huge Great Dane barking at us the whole time which was
Cristal's Baptism
terrifying...and then their teenage son came out on the balcony and saw two creepers in has back yard...haha when he realized we were missionaries he got this huge grin on his face and we were so embarrassed....we met his mom and realized that we were at where we would be having dinner later, which was so awkward because that meant we would be going back! Haha it was a good exchange and after we switched we had Cristal's baptism! She is they super cute Philippine woman I told you about who looks twelve because she is so small! Her baptism was probably one of the most spiritual I have ever been to! There are no words to describe the love that filled the room. You could just feel how proud of her God was, she glowed! I sang Come Unto Christ, and I thought I would cry! She got up to bare her testimony and it was so cute, she said "I never thought I would say this... But I am so proud to say that I am a Mormon!" Haha it was a wonderful wonderful baptism!
     Thursday was another exchange with a sister in a Spanish area named Hermana Villegas. She is half Hispanic but you would never know it because of her light skin and hair. She is gorgeous and has only been out a transfer and a few weeks, and she is such a strong missionary and a power house! I am getting pretty good at comprehension when listening to conversations in Spanish, but after that day I was exhausted and my brain hurt! Haha! 
Nametag art!
     Friday was busy with lots of district training meetings. We seriously had Costa Vida 5 times this week.  That is where everyone wanted to go, and member dinners too.  To much FOOD! Friday night we saw a miracle! It was splendid! We were in an apartment complex and one of our appointments fell through (which happens rather regularly...) and we decided that before leaving the apartment complex we should pray to see if God needed us there for someone else before we moved on. Sis Robertson noticed lights on in a certain apartment and so we went to try it out! Turns out the lady who answered the door was a recently returning to activity and had just received her recommend to do proxy baptisms in the temple. She was so happy to see us and said we were an answer to her prayer. Her husband just happens to not be a member (you don't stumble across those every day in Utah!) and she wanted him to start the missionary lessons! It was super cool! The spirit really does guide and lead us to those who are prepared for the gospel! I am so thankful for the guidance of the Holy Ghost in my life. God knows what he is doing. That's for sure. His hand is so evident in this work. I see it in the face of Amanda who only has a few months to live and who still smiles and fights to be married and get baptized because she knows how important it is. I see it in the face of Damien who wants his older missionary brother to baptize him as his last baptism of his mission. I see it in the faces of Hazel and Annika, two twin girls who globe when showing us their baptism dresses and explained to us the importance of Christ's example to us through baptism. I see it in the faces of Alex and his wife Lashae who have a dream of an eternal family and are working together to achieve it. These people, they radiate the light of Christ and I find so much love for the gospel through them and their dedication. I love this. Every aspect, every piece of this missionary work....I love it all. It's such a part of me and it is becoming a necessary part of me like breathing. Loving people...even if it's a set of sister missionaries who refuse to get along and I have to help...I see it in them too. 
    This gospel is true. 
    I love you all to the moon and back! Miss you and see you soon.
Love Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sumo Stress Relief

2-23-15
Aspen Zone
Dearest family.
     Well this life was just as crazy as last week, but I think I am learning to handle it better haha :) We are just working working working! Last Monday we played a ton of soccer and had a bunch of fun! Tuesday was a busy day because we had another zone training meeting we were teaching with our other zone. It was really good and the missionaries I serve with are just fantastic at what they do! We talked about the prodigal son a lot and had a great discussion on the
atonement and how we need it as missionaries just as much as the people we teach. The theme this month in mission is PMG (Preach My Gospel) ch 4 about learning to recognize and follow the spirit. We watched the "patterns of light" Mormon messages by Elder Bednar and had some cool discussions on them and following the spirit. President McCune gave us four principles for receiving personal revelation. 1) If you received it, trust it. 2) Ask specific questions and study them out. 3) Imagine it in your minds and test it out and 4) Is it rational? It was a good meeting. Afterwards we had lunch with one of our Senior Couples,, the Looslies before we went on exchanges with the Aspen Spanish sisters. I went with Sis Roman to her Spanish area while Sis Bonilla went to our area. I had fun walking all over Orem with Sis Roman (no car and it was like 60 degrees and perfect outside) we had some amazing Peruvian food that was delicious! We didn't do an overnight one, but just a day one, and it was after that that Sis Robertson and I went home and finished our nightly planning early...so we decided to sumo wrestle....nothing helps get rid of stress like body slamming someone and laughing your guts out! Haha we tied the couch cushions to us with scarves and had a grand old time. You must see the pictures or even the video I sent? At one point I smacked my head into the apple box in our apartment and we died laughing! It was super fun and we laughed even harder watching the videos afterwards.
     Wednesday was our second zone conference and it was epic and super inspiring! We talked all about how you don't need to balance obedience and love, they are the same. If you love the lord, you are obedient and vice’ versa. We also heard more about the mission split coming in June, which I am kind of glad that I'm not going to be here for. Too sad. Also the Pacen temple open house starts April 24th, which I might not be there for which I am bummed about...but I will be there in spirit... Especially as all the sister missionaries watch me in the training video. Hahah! We also talked about the new iPad rules. As of March 3rd everyone is required to buy a new iPad from their own finances....except for those going home within the next six months or so! Yah! I don't have to pay! Haha. But we will all be turning our iPads in for updated ones and won't be on face book for a few months. Pres. McCune went to a meeting with a bunch of other mission presidents and Elder Bednar and Elder Nelson all about technology and he said it was a new age for missionary work and super important. He asked us why we think we had iPads as missionaries. We all answered "to hasten the work?" And he said "no. To teach you all how to use technology righteously for the rest of your life. This generation is going to see huge changes in technology for the rest of your lives and you need to be prepared." He told us that elder Bednar told all the mission presidents that "this is the most important season in the history of the church in this dispensation." The whole zone conference was silent after that statement and everyone had chills. It was epic!
    
Visit from Old companion at missionary couples home.
Study time!
We have a mission wide conference with Elder Clark March 3. Wednesday night we switched again for exchanges with Sis Echeverria! It was super fun and we got to do some serious door knocking, trying to find Hispanic people, which is always an awkward experience (because I only speak English) but super funny and a good way to bond with your companion. I still feel like I am not much of a trainer, but more like I'm going on sleepovers haha. But I do have some training I have to get done, and I have to check all of the sister’s iPads when I go on exchanges with them to make sure they aren't doing anything inappropriate or messaging people during the week. Friday was kind of crazy with lessons and all our weekly planning we needed to get done! One of our investigators named Crystal decided she finally wanted to get baptized!!! And when I mean suddenly, I mean she wants to do it tomorrow! She has been keeping all her commitments and everything for a while, but she finally committed...and sis Robertson volunteered me to sing without even asking! Haha so I am doing a solo tomorrow to Come unto Christ. Crystal is a young married sister from the Philippines and she is so cute and sweet and prepared! I'm so stoked for her! A is still working towards her wedding but has been having so many trials, so if you could pray for her and her family that would help so much!


     Friday night was super annoying because our landlord was out of town and his college age son threw a party and we couldn't sleep because there was banging and screaming and yelling above our heads until 1am. I was so frustrated and tired that I knocked on the sealing and texted the landlord because I was tired and we had a big day the next day.
Saturday was a lot of teaching and finding. We taught D again who is progressing to baptism next month and is going to be baptized by his older brother who will get home from his mission the day before! It’s going to be amazing!  We saw so many miracles Saturday while out funding and contacting. We prayed for the spirit a ton, and the randomest circumstances happened and people came out of the wood work at the gas station and at apartment complexes. Sunday was mega busy as always! I wish I could describe everyone to you because they are all so amazing but I never have enough time! Ah! We had a crazy p day today hiking and playing sports and hopefully I can send pics next Monday! I love you all and miss you lots! Hope all is good and you are all in my prayers!
     Love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meetings, lots of Meetings




2-16-15
Trying to stay awake and pineapple is helping.
Heart Attack from a 9 year old investigator.
Dear family,
     With the little amount of time I have I have so much to tell you and I'm on my iPad and my short fat thumbs aren't very fast... So no judging my typos and stuff.  Where do I even begin...I have said that I have had crazy weeks before but this week...this week was downright exhausting. So so much. So much went down.
     I have been busier than ever as an STL. Tuesday we had an all-day meeting for all the leadership in the whole mission. This meeting is then broken down and taught by the STLs and zone leaders in zone training meetings. We cover two zones, so that means double the zone training meetings, and I also discovered double the zone conferences we need to attend. Yep. Sooooooo many meetings. So many. I think my brain is fried...they are all really good! But they have a tendency to exhaust you and make you feel like you could be doing so much better than you are currently doing. Humbling week to the max.  As an STL we go on splits with other Sisters, help sisters who might be struggling, teach leadership lessons, and generally help wherever we are needed.

          Thursday we had a miscommunication with our dinner. We were eating with a Hispanic lady and we had to go to the temple for one of Sis Robertson’s recent converts getting doing baptisms, and so we needed to leave dinner early. Well she didn't have dinner prepared when we got there so she was running everywhere trying to get food ready. I don't think I have eaten that fast in my life! And when we were done we were getting p to go and she pulled out a huge thing of ice cream and cake and flan (Mexican cake stuff) and insisted we have some and then take some home with us! I thought I was going to die! Haha! It was on our way to the temple late that we got the call from Pres McCune that he was transferring Sis B to our area and he wanted us to organize the transfer, including housing and helping sisters move and get situated in new areas....did I mention that we teach 34 lessons a week? And we had to juggle all of this In-between lessons and teaching and a bunch of other things. It was crazy stressful! 
Aspen Grove Zone
       Saturday was our first zone training meeting and it went really well! The focus was all on following the spirit and knowing our purpose as missionaries because we know our relationship with Christ. Remember when I wrote you about the question "what does Christ think of you?" And you told me that Uncle Lance used it for a youth conferences? Well I took his idea with the signs of "horrible" "meh" "okay" and "awesome" and we did the whole activity asking them how good they were at different aspects of missionary work, and then finishing with the question "What do you think Christ thinks of you?" It was a really cool experience! And a super spiritual zone training meeting! But I'm pretty sure Sis Robertson and I looked horrible because that morning we were supposed to go to the temple at 6:30, so we set our alarm for 6, but it didn't go off! So we woke up to the sound of our ride pounding on our door! I seriously threw a skirt on and brushed my teeth and we were out the door. My hair looked like it had been through a blender and I had zero makeup on. We were going with one of our recent converts named Megan and we got there in time to be able to watch her do baptisms. It was great! But I was so tired and looked like death!
      After the zone meeting one of our other sisters was sad because her grandmother is going into surgery this week for cancer and we are all fasting for her today. She also found out her uncle has cancer too, so life is just unloading on her. We had to make sure that she got a blessing. 
     Later Saturday afternoon we had another sister who was struggling so we went to council with her. Her companion, Sister T who was in the MTC with me told me something I really needed to hear, and I didn't realize how overwhelmed I was with everything and trying to be perfect and how much stress was building until these words came out of her mouth:
     "Expecting to be perfect is denying the need for a Savior." It was like all the sudden all the sudden a bunch of air had rushed out of me and I realized I wasn't letting the Savior and his atonement ease my burden. I was insisting on carrying it all alone. I was so tired that my eyes ached and I couldn't even think for myself because I was so worried about so many of the sisters and I was so overwhelmed with everything I needed to get done and be doing that I didn't let myself tap into my access of the atonement and let it cover. Sometimes we limit ourselves to how much the atonement covers us...and we really shouldn't. It doesn't ever stop. It's always there. But we are the ones to decide how much and how often we let it lift us. Just like with a little boy named K we taught this week and his older sisters. We taught about our identity as children of God and invited them to pray and ask God what he thinks of them. Nine year old K got down on his knees in the closing prayer and Sadie most sincere prayer I have ever hear. At the end he said "God, what do you think of all of us?" And he paused. It was like we all felt drenched in the spirit and a wall of love just smacked me in the face. It was so overwhelming and so real and powerful. I'm so thankful for K’s faith and the love I felt from my Savior even though I had been trying to help them feel His love.
     I feel like I haven't even grazed the surface of everything that went on this week. But I have a billion more meetings and exchanges this next week, so be prepared for more. I have never wanted to sleep so badly in my life, and my district is dragging me to go play soccer. Pray for me. Pretty please. Haha love you all and miss you! The Savior's is so GOOD and so is his gospel!
     Love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Monday, February 9, 2015

Busy and Tired in the Service


2-9-15
Dear Family...
     Let's start off with the fact I don't think I've been this tired on my mission. Ever. I keep dozing off during nightly planning, and I haven't had much time to think with everywhere we have been running and everything we've been doing. 
      Being a Sister Training Leader just for the past 5 days has been one of the most humbling experiences ever! I feel like I'm being trained as a brand new missionary all over again! It's insane! This new area in Orem is nothing like the last two times I was in Orem when the work was really slow and we did contacting all day. As a Sister Training Leader we get a car, which we need, because they are SO busy here! They have an average of 35 lessons in this area and I cover 2 stakes, and 19 wards. I've gone on more splits this last week than I have in the last 6 months on my mission, which is really pushing my teaching skills and making me rely on the spirit because teaching alone to people you've never met before can be really intimidating and scary, but overall it's been ok. Each night at bed time, I am OUT! So so so tired. As a Sister Training Leader, we are over 2 zones, so I cover 6 sets of sister missionaries (12 Sisters) 4 sets of which are Spanish Sisters. I already love them so much. When I found out I would be an STL, I started praying really hard to just love the sisters that I would be training, and it has helped a lot. I worry about them constantly and I've only known most of them for 5 days. But I don't know a lick of Spanish....Pretty much the only thing I know how to say in Spanish is Yo tengo los gatos verdes en mis pantalones.... (I have green cats in my pants...and that's just not going to help anyone....)
      We have two sets of senior couples and they spoil us so bad! One of them are Elder and Sister Cornish and they claim us all as adopted daughters and keep telling us how much they love us and if there is anything we need or anything they will do it all! They are the sweetest ever! If you ask Elder Cornish his favorite part of the mission, he says the young Sister Missionareis! haha! The Looslie's are the same way! They are the best! 
     This week I've met so many new people who are just so prepared and amazing! This place is booming with investigators and people to teach and to love. My mind is dizzy trying to remember them all though! 

Jeff's Baptism
     Saturday I had the chance to go back to Mapleton to see Jeff's baptism! It was so strange, I had only been gone 3 days and just driving through Springville was making me homesick for it and missing Sister Gulbranson so much. His baptism was amazing and had a great turn out and it was cool to visit with all the missionaries who had taught him in the past! HE is such a tall big guy, and his uncle who baptized him was smaller, and so they had to baptize him twice because he couldn't get him down under the water all the way and pull him back up!  And I loved catching up with Sis Gulbranson.
       Sis Robertson and I have a lot of fun as companions! We are so busy, but we laugh a lot and reminisce the good old days in the MTC together. Last night our land lords had a bunch of teenagers over playing games and they were so loud! It took us a while but we eventually figured out that they were playing charades, which inspired us to want to play a round. So we laughed really hard because we were so loopy and tired and acting out Samuel the Lamanite, and evil king Noah, and being an octopus, and a fireplace. We are weirdos. It's going to be a jolly good time together! :) I'm learning so much from her! She is such an amazing missionary and really knows her stuff!
      I've met some amazing people this week that we teach, and I'm so excited to get to know them more.
       One of them is named AJ. She is in her 40's and has awesome long HOT PINK hair! It's so cool! She wants to get baptized SO bad! She just needs to stop smoking and she'll be good...but she is also living with a boyfriend and their 6 year old daughter. We taught her the law of chastity this week, and told her that she can't get baptized unless her and her Boyfriend of 7 years named N get married. We talked about the blessings and the importance of the commandment to God, and she said she understood, but didn't have money for a wedding. We told her the bishop could marry them, the chapel was free, the ward would come together to decorate and make food, and we knew a cake decorator. She has SO much faith it was crazy! She started crying she was so grateful for everyone's help! Her and her boyfriend set a date for March 10th to get married! It was so amazing! I'm so proud of her and she is such an amazing woman. So we are wedding planners now.
Lenise loves books!
      There is another 17 year old boy named D who wants to be baptized and his brother gets off his mission next month, and is going to come home and baptize him! It will be super neat! We had a lot of district meetings to go to this week and we have been so busy setting up our exchange schedule for this transfer! I have to go on 6 exchanges...6...holy cow. This will be a new adventure for sure. We have MLC (Missionary leadership Council meeting) this week which is just like a zone conference with all the leadership. Then later this next week we have two zone training meetings to plan, conduct, and teach. So this week is going to be a crazy week of meetings and such. Not a whole lot of time to teach, which means we will be going on more splits in the evenings to get all our lessons in. 
      Also on Wed and Thurs nights we do chapel tours. It's something the stake presidents have set up where people can invite nonmember/less active friends and family to come tour the church and get comfortable, and us as missionaries lead the tours and talk about the sacrament and the baptismal font and all sorts of other things. So that keeps us busy. 
      Well, I know that this church is true. I have to wrap things up because we just found out some sisters need help. 
      But I want to bare my testimony that I know that the Savior lives, that through relying on Him we can overcome our struggles, the hard times, the new things, and the hard things. I've been chanting my mantra this week "I can do hard things. I can do hard things." The Lord's will is my will and I'm ready to do what He asks. I love you all and miss you! Thanks for everything and the support. Love you to the moon and back!
    Love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
   p.s. 
       I will not be sending you my current address because they have asked that all mail be sent to the mission office to be forwarded. I need to be obedient and be a good example to these sisters...which means getting letters a week later than they would usually get to me. Any mail should be sent to 85 North 600 East, Provo UT 84606.  Tell me when Leisha has her baby! :)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Narnia Ringtone

2-2-15
Dear Family,
Candace
     Let me please just start off by saying that I really need your prayers. Like really really need them. Badly. This is going to be a big adjustment for me and a lot of hard work. 
      So for starters, Sis Gulbranson and I thought it would be funny to put a ringtone on President McCune's calls similar to the horn-blowing music from the Chronicles of Narnia whenever Aslan appears. Well, when it's a transfer morning, you dread hearing such a ringtone, and just hope you don't hear it at all... Because if you get a call from President McCune on transfer morning, it means one of you in the companionship is receiving a leadership position. Sis Gulbranson and I were convinced we would be staying together again. Just convinced! But this morning during studying time...the dreaded blowing of the Narnia ringtone sounded. We just looked at each other wide-eyed before both of us at the same time shouted "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!" My hands were shaking SO bad!!!!!! I could already feel tears coming to my eyes, because just the fact that he was calling meant we wouldn't be companions anymore. I put the phone on speaker and I tried to use my most cheerful voice to answer the phone, but the whole time I was doing it, Sis Gulbranson was in the background with her hands over her eyes chanting "No no no no no no no." The first thing President said was "Well Sis Volmer, Sis Gulbranson, I have an adventure for both of you!" We just stared at each other all confused and scared. He started with "Sister Volmer, are you there?" and I was like "Yes...?" He then said "Sister Volmer, I would like to call you to be a Sister Training Leader, do you think you can accept that calling?" My mind went blank for a moment and then the first things that popped out of my mouth were "Are you sure?!?!" because quite honestly I'll be the first to admit that I am forgetful and scatterbrained and unqualified to be training and going on exchanges with other sister missionaries!!!!!!!!!!! He said "Yes, I am very sure. Will you?" so of course I said yes, who can say no to President anyway! And Sis Gulbranson thought she was getting out of it easy, and then President McCune said "And Sis Gulbranson, you will be training a brand new missionary." I think her jaw hit the floor. President said goodbye. I started crying and Sis G just kept saying "Oh my gosh! I can't handle this! I can't train!!!!" For those who don't know what a Sister Training Leader (STL) is it's pretty much the equivalent of a Zone Leader for Sisters. I've gone on exchanges with so many STL's and each time I ask them what it's like and get all the details...and I'm not going to lie...it sounds like it can be a little stressful. So please pray for me. Please please please.
     The upside to being a STL is I don't have to wait until Wed to find out where I'm going or who my companion is going to be. My companion is going to be Sis Robertson, who was actually was in my district and roomed with me in the MTC! She is hilarious and so cute! And a health nut, so she will get me out running in the mornings! Which will be good. I'll be serving in the Orem Aspen area -it's still a different area than Orem Orchard, so it will be new people and new experiences. 
     I'm a little overwhelmed right now, so sorry if the rest of this email is really scattered. My mind is going a million miles a minute with all the things I need to get done and prepare for. 
     CONGRATS TO THE BEANS!!!! Yay for new baby Thomas!!!!  It suits him He is such a cutie pie with his little round cheeks and tufts of hair and Elsy's nose. I can't wait to meet him soon and snuggle and play with him! YAY! 
Some companions you really connect with - and
then have to say goodbye.
 
     This week has been nuts. We've been running everywhere. Our last week in January, we had some great lessons with everyone. We got canceled on a few times, but over all we were pretty busy.
          We had Candace's baptism on Saturday and that was great! It was a little scattered because our new ward mission leader totally spaced the fact that he needed a pianist and a chorister and programs....so....thank heavens somebody who attended played the piano, and I lead the music, and he pulled  chalk board in and wrote the program on it for everyone to follow. It was actually kind of funny, but I felt bad for Sis Gulbranson because she was embarrassed...but we didn't remind the ward mission leader so it's kind of my fault...But overall it went pretty smoothly. 
     Yesterday was a crazy day. We were both so tired from such a busy week and we were going going going from sun up to sun down. It's going to be hard saying goodbye to everyone here, but I trust Sis Gulbranson with them, after all she took care of them before I got here. Thanks to Leisha and Mom for writing her this week! It made her so happy :)
     I'm really going to miss her! We had so much fun singing in the car together, and quoting the Grinch and Mulan, and listening to Pride and Prejudice while I told her the story line. I'm going to miss telling her stories, or laughing together over inside jokes. I'm going to miss calling her out whenever she would say "Aye?" and taking crazy pictures and just EVERYTHING! I'm going to miss teaching with her because she was so good at it! It's going to be really hard to say goodbye! I felt like I could really just relax and be myself around her, and it was super nice. I will definitely have to go visit her in Canada! 
     Well.... I can't think of anything else to say because I'm so scattered. Hopefully next week I'll be able to update you more.
     I love and miss you all lots! I pray for you! Hope all is well with Baby Thomas and Leisha better tell me when the next baby gets here!!!
     Love you to the moon and back!
   Love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sprint to the Finish


1-26 -15 
   It is a great day to be a missionary! In fact every day is a great day to be a missionary! 
   This week has been all kinds of hard and amazingly dandy. 
Getting your Sprint Papers
    Monday was kind of crazy. We went bowling as a district at BYU for p-day but only ended up staying there for like 45 min which was pretty sad, and we had to be split up at different lanes because it was so busy there for MLK day. I then went to the BYU creamery for the first time....which is just a little ice cream shop that everyone raves about...  We then played soccer and I scored like 3 goals! It was great! That evening we had a lesson with one of our recent converts named Jake NoHorse. He is part Native American and super quiet, but when he does talk, he is hilarious! We had an amazing lesson on the atonement with him, and we watched For God So Loved the World, which is one of the new bible videos that I highly recommend you watch. We then went to an FHE where I probably had the worst bashing of "On my mission" by sister RMs that I've experienced so far. Haha! When you serve in Utah, everyone thinks they had it harder than you on their mission and they like to go on and on about how much harder they worked and the crazy things they encountered. Especially when they find out we have ipads and an iphone. It's not like I picked Utah for myself or I'm lesser because I'm serving here. But I wouldn't choose anywhere else to serve. :) It doesn't make me a worse missionary or mean that I have a weak testimony because I'm serving here, so I'm good where I am :)
     Tuesday we got canceled on a lot, but had a very busy evening. We met with Candace again, who is getting baptized this upcoming Saturday afternoon. We had a bit of a struggle meeting with the bishop and stake president and then her older sister to make sure that she was being baptized in the right ward and that she wanted to stay in YSA. But overall it all worked out and she is doing well.
     Wednesday was a little crazy. We had to get up early so that we could get to our district meeting on time because we had interviews with President McCune. They went super well. President McCune is so inspired and in tune with the spirit. We all talk about how he is going to be a general authority one day, but he always says he just wants to be called to work in the nursery after he is released haha :) He is an amazing man, and I don't think I've met a single person who hasn't talked to him and really liked him. I'm so grateful to be serving under his direction. He is exactly the mission president I needed, and I'm glad that I've been able to have him my whole mission.
Sprint to the finish - does she look happy to have 3 months left?
     After interviews, we went home for lunch and in the mail box I received a big white envelope. I instantly wanted to throw it away! I knew exactly what it was even before I opened. Three months before a missionary goes home, they receive what are called "Sprint Papers"...but most of the missionaries in our mission call them "Trunky papers" ...but I like to refer to them as sprint papers. It's a letter from the mission president thanking you for your service so far, and then there is a "Pledge to Sprint" Certificate that you sign and hang up on your wall so you can look at it. If you sign it, it means you pledge to sprint to the end of your mission. To work hard and dedicate your all to the fullest to these last months. It's actually pretty neat. It explains how the Olympic games in Ancient Greece included a 26 mile marathon across the most mountainous part of the Balkan Peninsula, and how the runners would set speedy paces...but the real winner was the one who reached inside himself during the last mile and sprinted to the end. The certificate says "Therefore, having run on my mission at my specific pace, I now pledge to sprint to the end. I promise to reach deep within myself and find an amazing inner strength to perform such as I have never performed before; to never neglect any opportunity to share the precious gem of the gospel, to cry repentance with urgency, to serve God and my fellow men with all I have, lest the adversary overtake me. I want to obtain the laurels of eternal life for myself and others. I have carefully considered the strong implications of this promise--for I do not make promises lightly-- and I am willing to stand by my word. I witness it to all this day." and then it says at the bottom "This is the most important race I have yet run. "And then gives the scriptures 1 Corinthians 9:24. It really motivated me to make these last few months count. It really is such an amazing experience, and I want so many to attain for themselves the blessings of Heaven through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But it takes obedience, dedication, and hard work on my part. I've learned that the simplest things can make up the biggest changes. 
     Later that night we met with B, who is a returning member we have been teaching. She works at a psych hospital with a lot of crazies and she has a lot of really funny stories to tell us all the time. Watching her change and strengthen her testimony has been an amazing experience. She fed us dinner this week and made us breakfast for dinner. 
Bruised knuckles.....
....from knocking doors....or makeup artist?
     Thursday we got canceled on a lot too. One of the guys we teach is named J and slept through his alarm and was an hour late to the lesson. He said that there were so many things getting in his way of coming to the lesson. He slept through his alarm, he started getting sick, and then he got a random bloody nose, and then traffic was horrible getting to the lesson...but he said he knew that Satan was just trying to make it so he wouldn't get to the lesson...So he felt like he must really need it if Satan was working so hard. We had some great discussions on Faith Hope and Charity and we were able to help him with some questions he had. It went really well. We also saw J that day. She is just out of high school. She is hilarious  and has gone to beauty school and all other sorts of things, and so she was showing us all of her different makeup and stuff and showed us how she knows how to do fake wounds and what not. So I asked if she could show me, so she put makeup on my hand to make it look like I had bruised knuckles. It was actually pretty cool and I wasn't able to wash it off for a few lessons, so some people kept asking me what had happened to my hand and were able to have a good laugh. 
       Sunday was crazy busy and last night we had a huge fireside with the whole YSA stake. The stake presidency was putting it on with their wives and it was all about eternal marriage and fear in forming eternal families. They all spoke and sat on a panel while they had Q&A from the audience about marriage, dating, and all sorts of other things. It was actually really interesting and hilarious. One of the wives got up and talked about how she always thought her love life would be like Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy is walking through the field towards her and it would be a magical moment. She then talked about how she saw her husband her sophomore year of high school and she said it was her field moment. He said he had no idea that had even happened...and that he hated Pride and Prejudice and thought all love stories should be like the one from Rocky, between Rocky and Adrian, which had all the guys laughing. It was really funny and really spiritual...if not a little awkward for the two sister missionaries sitting a few rows back ;) haha. I did run into a girl from EFY while I was there though! Her name is Savanah and it was good to see her! :) 
      Transfers is next week, so start praying that Sis Gulbranson and I will stay together! We really are! We want to so bad! It will be my first companion I'd have for three transfers! Let’s see if I can break my cycle of 2,1,2,1,2,1,2 transfers with a companion. 
     Overall it was super fun week and a lot of growing happened for me. I'm so thankful for the hand of the Lord in my life and also in the lives of those I teach. This is truly His work, and He knows what He is doing. I'm grateful he trusts me enough to let me teach his children and help bring them unto Christ. I love being a missionary. I love you all and hope you all have a great week! Keep in touch!!! Miss you!
     Love,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
p.s.  Happy Birthday to Sharee!! And I shall keep the pregnant sisters in my prayers! Keep me in the loop when those little boys get here!