Friday, February 27, 2015

Sumo Stress Relief

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 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!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meetings, lots of Meetings

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!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer

Monday, February 9, 2015

Busy and Tired in the Service

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!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
       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

Dear Family,
     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 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 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!
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer