I have a heart full of gratitude! Some of the things I am grateful for include:
1. Having a glimpse into my divine potential as a daughter of God 2. Strengthening my relationship with Jesus Christ over the past ten months 3. Having such an amazing family. You support me with my success and failures. You believe in me and your examples and experiences teach me. I would have nothing without my family. You have played such a large roll in who I have become. Thank you for all your support. 4. My closest friends who I can count on. We may go without seeing each other for long stretches of time but when we are united the adventure continues. special shout out to: Tristan Mouritsen, Janice and Jill Bacigalupo, Ethan Kirkpartrick, Ashley Malan, Mica McGriggs 5. The friendships I have created with others on the mission (members, missionaries, investigators) I love each of you special shout out to: Mir Ortega, Ethel Baughman, Yassmin Bennon, Sister Britton, and so many more!
This past week: Thursday and Friday 15th & 16th Sister Maldarizzi was sick so I had the opportunity to study doctrine more in depth and it was really nice =)
Saturday the 17th We finally had two lessons with investigators we've been trying to see for a while. The storm slowed missionary life down for a few weeks. However, things are starting to pick up! It's wonderful.
Sunday the 18th We went with our ward to the Lincoln Sq. building to take the sacrament. We had a shortened sacrament meeting and then headed over to Queens to help clean up in Rockaway.
Monday the 19th We had a lesson with one of our investigators and he always has the best questions! That night we helped our ward mission leader set up for the Family Home Evening. There was a spiritual thought but the highlight was the marshmallow war!
Tuesday the 20th We helped at the local food pantry. I really enjoy serving there because it is relaxing once you get in the flow of your task. This week we bagged two pounds of green beans and went through about 5-6 crates. It was especially busy because of the Thanksgiving rush. There was a film crew and a photographer come. I might be in their article =) I have to admit, I love the spot light! haha After we went to Five Guys and got pizza! We go there every week after service because it's dollar slice pizza. Later I got a pretty bad migraine and it was really hard to stay focused during a lesson we had. We did a split with Sister Broderick and Sister Otukulu so Sister Broderick could pass off an investigator to us. It was awesome for me to be able to teach with Sister Broderick because we have taught together since the MTC.
Wednesday the 21st Today we went to Discovering Columbus,” by the Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi. It was way cool! It is an installation of a family room around a statue that is 60 feet in the air. It's cool because it gives you to opportunity to see the art work in ways you would never typically be able to see or appreciate. It was a cool experience and my friend from the ward Karalee works there.
Thursday November 8th My 9 month mark! We had a really great member dinner. I ate black bean chile! Aren't you so proud of me family?! Haha I ate it with sour cream, tomatoes (sounds like me huh???), and tortilla chips It was actually really good! Then they had a cake for dessert that they put candles on in the shape of a 9 after I told them it was my 9 month mark. It was very sweet of them =) The spiritual message we had with them was very powerful. It was a really neat day. Saturday November 10th We woke up early to go serve in Brooklyn and Queens. It was an awesome experience. I'm short on time. Hopefully I can tell you why next week. Afterwards we went with some other missionaries went to taco bell for dinner. Remember that opposition in all things?! Well I lost my wallet at Taco Bell, which contained my credit card and metro card. It was frustrating and above all inconvenient. We were on 14th st. and we were trying to get back to 108th st. where we live. We went into the train station and a lady offered me a swipe. I was so grateful until I found out she was charging me two dollars. It's technically illegal to sell swipes so out of principle I was not going to accept. It was annoying. We walked a good 30-40 blocks and then I told Sister Maldarizzi that we had to try going to try another train station. I was able to pay cash and get a single ride. When I got home I crashed in my bed! It was so dead! Monday the 12th I felt the Lord send tender mercies my way. Which was really nice because I was still pretty dead from Saturday. I really like our new zone. There are two missionaries that are brand new and it's really weird for me to see where I once was.
Wednesday the 14th For P-day we did laundry and cleaned the apartment. Later we went to Canal Street and Chinatown! It was awesome =D Thank goodness we live with two Chinese sisters who can talk the talk for us and bargain at the shops lol. I got a delicious boba drink! (Kung fu Mango Slush) and we got dumplings (aka pot stickers) 5 for $1.25. Briefly we stopped through little Italy and my companion got to speak to some people in Italian =)
I'm short for time, but let me tell you what I learned this week! (I really put it all together today when I was writing Tristan a letter lol)
I think as human being it's very easy to "glamorize" phases of our lives...
When I'm in high school I'll... When I can drive I will be so old/cool... one day when I'm in college I'll... I can't wait to be a missionary and serve and work hard the whole time... when I'm married I'll have my own place...
Often we loose focus and effort in our current phase because we glamorize how AMAZING the next one will be. We recognize all the highs and are oblivious to the lows. When we reach the desired phase it's exciting at first, but before we know it it has lost it's glamor. Instinctively we think forward to the next thing.
However, I propose a style of living that lives one day at a time, savoring each earthly experience, finding joy therein-thus fulfilling the measure of our creation. Has our current phase lost it's glamor and excitement?--> Then put some sequins and glitter on it to sparkle it up. Do random things to keep life fresh and interesting. =)
It's funny because I've seen some missionaries talk about home for a good portion of their mission and then once they get home they talk about the mission. We have to live with our choices in this life and invest our attention and energy into one thing until it is through. Otherwise we will only halfheartedly live our lives. That is not the type of experience Heavenly Father wants us to have here. He sent us here to have deep, meaningful, and enriching lives. We will only benefit from our experiences if we actually live them. Furthermore, we determine our happiness, not our conditions. This principle is taught really well in this last General Conference in Elder Uchtdorf's talk.
I love you!!! Please seek the Lord in your life. I exhort you with all the energy of my heart to remember to pray daily and communicate with him. Please talk to him about whatever you're going through. He will not be able to show you or help you understand if you don't talk to him. This week has had it's ups and downs for me, but I know Heavenly Father was mindful of me because of the tender mercies he would send. He didn't take away the hard things but he sent His love to me in various ways showing me he was listening. I desire for you to experience this two. The real question is do you desire to know what Heavenly Father is trying to tell you? Do you want to know how he feels and how much he loves you? Do you want to know why or if he is even there? Then ask. Take action. Use your agency to find out. He loves you and he will listen to you even if you are honest with him and tell him you don't understand or your mad, hurt, in anguish, grief, anything... He is always ready and waiting for you to talk to him. I know these things are true by the power of the Holy Ghost. He has shown me just a small glimpse of how much the Lord desires to speak to us through prayer.
After emailing last week I want to the Harlem Chapel and met up with other missionaries for a multi-zone halloween party! It was a lot of fun =) We bobbed for donuts and later for apples!
Thursday November 1st I got a birthday card from CJ. We went with the elders to visit Bro. Keeits. He is an older man in their ward that has been in the hospital for a while. He is so funny. He is a black man with a burning testimony of the restored gospel. He had this question impressed upon his heart earlier by the spirit and he shared it with us to ponder..."What else can God do to get man's attention?" It was really great to hear Bro. Keeits testimony and his confidence in knowing that the Lord is in charge. This was a hard day for me. I was feeling weighed down with the weight of the tragedy that had taken place in so many people's lives. Furthermore, it was hard to get around the city, I wanted to help and I didn't have any way to use my energy and serve. Our area really wasn't affected very much and we'd been searching for opportunities but hadn't found any yet. The Elders gave Sister Maldarizzi and I doughnuts in honor of my birthday =)
Friday Nov. 2nd The Chinese sisters who were staying with us for a few days taught us some cool phrases =) I would try to type them but I would butcher them.
Saturday Nov. 3rd We went to the Lincoln Center Chapel (Manhattan Temple) and helped with a stake service project. They were putting together supplies to take to shelters throughout the city. I got to use my crafty skills and create uplifting cards.
That night we finally had a lesson with a student Sister Maldarizzi had contacted a month a go and it was so great to teach! It had been a week and two days since we had taught a sit down lesson. I felt the spirit that comes from teaching the gospel to another and it was so refreshing. It became how clear I love teaching the gospel and answering questions. Not to mention how hard it is when you are not teaching anyone. Previously we had been blessed to have a nice rhythm going with our teaching. We were staying busy here in Harlem but the hurricane really stopped everything. It was really unsettling and hard to not have much happening with our schedule.
After our lesson Saturday night we went to pinkberry! They have a new flavor-CHOCOLATE HaZELnut it is a beautiful thing! This week has been soooooooo long because of all the adjustments to life after the storm.
Sunday Nov. 4th Church was really refreshing. We had an awesome fast and testimony meeting! Everyone who spoke had experienced a strong faith building experience and had an opportunity to slow down because of the storm. There was also a general sense of gratitude for the fact that each one had felt Heavenly Father's love and awareness of them personally. In gospel principles (chapter 22 I believe lol) we read about gifts of the spirit. This topic is of particular interest to me right now. We had dinner with some great members and talked about being bold in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We watched the CES Fireside at the Lincoln Center Chapel. I really enjoyed it. It was about becoming who we are meant to be. I loved the Lion King reference =) Check it out at lds.org
We are the Architects of Our Own Happiness Bishop Gérald Caussé
Monday Nov. 5th We got "juked" (stood up) This happens a lot on the mission. Usually you don't go more than a few days without someone not coming to an appointment without letting you know they wont make it. We had gone 6 weeks without this happening! That is impressive =) We didn't mind. This is the first day I realized how cold it was getting! I was dying =P
That night we had a great lesson with a new investigator that some of the other missionaries told us about. His name is Andy and he is hilarious! One of the members of our ward came to the lesson. Andy is ready to see what the gospel is all about by seeking the Lord through scripture study, prayer, and church attendance, and that is one of the most exciting things as a missionary!. I love teaching others about the restored gospel and helping them in the process of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith as a prophet, the priesthood authority, and the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.) I love feeling the spirit testify to me as I testify to others that these things really are true! I know that if we seek Heavenly Father with a sincere desire to know if this is his church, if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and/or if Joseph Smith was called as a prophet- and then are willing to act, we can receive an answer through the Holy Ghost. It is not easy. Satan will put doubts in your mind. You will face obstacles, but if you are persistent you can know that God it real. He loves you. He thinks about you all day every day. He cares about everything you go through. He sent his son Jesus Christ to atone for the world so that you could be forgiven of your sins, AND TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO RISE ABOVE WHAT WE ARE NOT CAPABLE OF OURSELVES. "Christ doesn't just make up the difference. He makes all the difference." -Brad Wilcox I recommend everyone reads The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox! It has really shaped my understanding of the atonement. It is a remarkable book.
I received a letter from my mom, a birthday package from Mica, and a birthday package from Tristan! Thank you!!! I loved them =) I am writing each of you back. In the mean time just know I received your presents and they were a perfect way to end the evening. THANK YOU!
Tuesday Nov. 6th We had breakfast with our zone North Man(hattan)It was a blast! We had chocolate chips waffles and pancakes. We brought strawberries and bananas for toppings.
We went to the chapel for a lesson with an investigator who is Muslim and we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Arabic. He is very nice and has a great relationship with God. It was an interesting lesson because it was focused a lot on who Jesus Christ is to us. I personally didn't know how to guide the lesson in a way that he needed, but the spirit did =) We were able to simply share from our heart. It was really cool. He is excited to read the Book of Mormon. Today Wed. Nov. 7th We were up in the Bronx earlier for Transfers. Elder Richards and a lot of other missionaries I know are going home! We came back down to Manhattan with some elders that I've served around. We went and got some pizza at "Two Bros" which is always good =) Two slices of cheese pizza and a can of soda for $2.50 Then Sister Maldarizzi and I went thrift shopping for some cute clothes and we also bought some better tights. Winter is here my friends! It is ridiculous! hahah I guess I will learn to adjust. It is absolutely crazy though. Tomorrow is my 9 month mark! That is unreal to me.
Wednesday night: Bobbing for donuts! Bobbing for apples.
Doughnut glasses =D
Pictures that correspond with my email (part 2)
The Chinatown sisters who stayed with us! My crafty card making skills at the stake service project After our lesson Saturday night we went to pinkberry! They have a new flavor-CHOCOLATE HaZELnut it is a beautiful thing!
Pictures that correspond with my email (part 3)
zone breakfast Elder Miller is "dying" meaning he is going home today. He will be missed!
Pictures that correspond with my email (part 4)
sister T is going to "die" or finish her mission in six weeks! some pictures from today sister maldarizzi in the cart!