Monday, January 19, 2015

Missionary for 15 months!

Lenise hasn't sent pics the last few weeks so I'm finding some of my own.
Dearest Family,
     So this last Friday I had my 15 month mark in the mission. It was kind of crazy and a little surreal. I've gotten to the point where I don't really like telling people how long I've been on my mission because when I do it's usually followed by "Wow! You are going home soon!" Which I'm pretty sure no missionary likes to hear… But it's crazy to think that I've been a missionary that long when sometimes it feels so short. But I've also realized that I have changed a lot in the past 15 months and being a missionary has become all I know. I can't imagine the day when I won't be constantly running around all over town visiting people and knocking on doors with cold chapped knuckles, and sitting on lumpy college student couches teaching the good word of God will holding my tattered Scriptures. It's been an amazing 15 months, and it seems like they just get better. So… I decided I'd share some things that you learn once you've been a missionary for 15 months… Well not exactly learn but what become facts in your mind. For example, sleeping in is a fairytale. It's a myth. It's something that other people talk about to taunt you as a missionary. The concept of sleeping in sounds too good to be true and it something that you haven't done for over a year. Another one is you only back your car up if there somebody guiding you from the outside. It sounds stupid and I've been frustrated at that rule a lot… But it's become such a part of our routine but I feel like I can't throw the car into reverse without needing somebody to stand behind me and motion to me. I'm pretty sure I'll get over that one when I get home pretty fast. Another thing that seems like it can never change is studying for two hours every day in the Scriptures and in preach my gospel. Everybody says that missionaries try really hard to keep up their study routine after the Mission, but they say it never lasts long. They say they go straight back to only studying the Scriptures for 15 minutes… Which I almost can't understand because I feel like I don't get anything out of it after only 15 minutes. My day feels incomplete without two hours of immersing myself in gospel study...but I know that probably won't last when I need to be studying different things for college classes. It’s crazy how overtime different aspects of being a missionary become so routine and ingrained into me, and yet I know that once my time is up they will be gone and it will feel so so strange. Other little things, like reading my text messages out loud to my companion before I send them off, is going to be hard adjusting to just reading them on my own haha. And things like taking my name tag off at night, looking at my name next to the Savior's and reporting to him mentally on how well I represented him that day. I love the little things. Being a missionary has brought so much perspective, that I hope to keep. This week went really well! We've been having a lot of work and this next week should be even busier!

      On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the STL’s (Sister Training Leaders). My companion for the day was Sis Naef, who is actually from the Tri-Cities as well. We flew out on the same flight together and have been out for the exact same amount of time. It was a really busy day and we got a lot of contacting and work done. It was funny because Sis. Gulbranson went with Sis M, and Sis M had to go get an ingrown toenail removed. She said it was quite the adventure! This last week we received two referrals for nonmembers who wanted to meet with us. We started teaching both of them and they are both really interested in the gospel! The first one is named P. He was raised most of his life atheist and even participated in some games and other rough things in his life. He is super quiet and really willing to listen to us. He said he was atheist until one day he was driving around in his truck and stopped by a nearby field. He said he felt the need to pray, and really felt like somebody was listening to him. There was a family that took him to church with them for a couple of years but when they moved away he stopped because of anxiety. He wound up at church one day with his mom at an RM's homecoming talk. The RM just happened to be a new ward missionary in one of our wards and lives just down the street from him. We were able to meet him and he was super interested and willing to set up a time to meet with us. We invited him to be baptized at his lesson this last week but he said it was a really big step and that he didn't want to take it lightly which is understandable.
     Our other new investigator is named J. He has actually gone through all of the missionary discussions before, and even pass his baptismal interview, but then dropped the missionaries because he didn't want to make a promise that he knew he couldn't keep. He had addiction to cigarettes for a really long time, but over this last summer he totally quit, and contacted the missionaries again.  We met with him twice this last week and he is on date for February 6 to be baptized! He's progressing really fast and we are just reviewing the lessons with him because he knows most of it and has a strong testimony!
     The work is really beginning to pick up and we are super excited! Sis Gulbranson and I just really hope that we get to stay together longer, because transfers are coming up in a few weeks. We have interviews with President McCune this upcoming week which is pretty exciting.

      This last week J (a different J) has been avoiding us. We saw him last Monday at an FHE activity, it was the first one that he had been to in a while. He seemed like he was having a lot of fun and we had pretty high hopes that he was getting back on track. But then He canceled on us twice and Sister Gulbranson and I are starting to get really frustrated. We've been trying really hard but if he doesn't want it there's nothing we can really do. If you could keep him in your prayers I would really appreciate it.
      Today for district activity we are going to BYU campus to go bowling and to pick up a new journal for Sister Gulbranson. We hope it ends up working out because a lot of the missionaries in our district have been feeling sick. There is a really nasty flu or virus going around here that knocks people out for a week or two. I was worried I was getting it because last night I had some pretty severe stomach pain during our coordination meeting with our ward mission leaders. I had to lay down and rest a little bit. This morning I still wasn't feeling too great and I didn't really feel like eating, but now I'm feeling lots better.

      That is super neat that Uncle Mitch got called as the bishop! He will do a fantastic job!
     I love you all and have been praying for all of you. Miss you and hope all is well! Keep in touch!
Love ya lots,
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

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