Monday, August 19, 2013

08/19/13-Week 28 in Indiana [Week 5 of Transfer 5] "A Week of Miracles!"

HI!! :D

This week has been so great! :D It has been full of miracles and laughs galore. I love being a missionary!! Yesterday we had what this ward calls a 'cottage meeting.' Susan and Saranna came and it was so fun! It was hosted at Brother and Sister Minch's home! [they are the ones that we have been working with lots and have just barely been coming back to church. They were less active for a good 20 years]. We watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with them. I love that movie. Each time that I watch it, I can't help but shed a tear because the Spirit is so strong! But after the movie, Brother Kennedy (our ward mission leader) asked what people's favorite parts were. Mine is always the part where the people bring the lady who committed adultery to him and he tells them that whoever had no sin among them to cast the first stone. And they all leave, except for him. Because they all sin. And he tells her that he does not condemn her. Our Savior is forgiving. He is the savior of the world. His whole purpose is to forgive. We must never think that he won't forgive us. As long we come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He will forgive us. He loves us beyond what we can understand. I am so grateful for His atonement and His love. 
But, the funny part of the story is when Brother Kennedy asked if anyone saw something new that they had never noticed before.... Susan said "yes! I never noticed the pottery in the scene when Jesus is healing someone." Elder Day [one of the Elders in our ward] looked over at us and started to chuckle. We couldn't help but try to hold back our laughs. I just love them :) They make us laugh so hard. Saranna was very hyper the entire time we were there. And to make it exciting, we had a member there who kept making puns out of everything Saranna said. Sister Minch made the comment about her "fat, stinky cat" and how she didn't want it to come down stairs, and the member said "that would be a 'cat'astrophe!!" Later, Saranna bumped the TV and a picture frame fell and almost hit her. Then the member piped up and said "you almost got framed!!" and Saranna was laughing so hard. Then he told us a joke about how his dog could talk. He asked the dog what was on the tree trunk and it said "bark!" He asked the dog what was on top of the house and it said "roof!" He asked the dog what sand paper felt like and it said "ruff!" Susan was laughing so hard. She could barely eat! It was great fun :D Sister Colton and I were laughing pretty hard too. It was just great.

But!! This week was GREAT!! We have seen so many miracles! We taught Wayne (our investigator set to be baptized on Sept 28th) about the Word of Wisdom. And it was the easiest lesson ever!! We were really nervous because we had no idea if he had any problems with anything, but he took it so well! We asked him if there was anything he thought he might have a problem with and he said, "No, I only have a cup of coffee every once in a while. So that shouldn't be a problem." What?? This never happens!!! Wayne is so prepared. We are so excited for him!! It was a great experience. 

Then we had dinner with the George's [members] and Sister George had a friend over for dinner, Linda. She is about 70 years old and is very good friends with the George's. As we had dinner, we had really good conversations, and at the end we offered to have a spiritual thought. We pulled out the Family Proclamation and read the 3 paragraphs where it talks about the Pre-Earth life and about our purpose here. We explained to her that God has a body of flesh and bone, and that we lived with him before, but we could never become like Him without gaining a body. So, he created this world for us to come to and to gain bodies and to learn from our mistakes so that we could return back to him. After explaining this she said "That makes complete sense!" At this point, Sister Colton and I just stared at her in awe and had no idea what to say. We were thinking..."what do we do now?? No one ever says this!!" Eventually, after getting words back, we continued to teach her. At the end, we asked her if she would want to learn more and said said, "Yeah, I would like that!" Again, Sister Colton and I just stared at her in awe for a few seconds. Moral of the story: We found an amazing new investigator that Heavenly Father just placed in our laps. We have return appointments for the next two weeks with her. We were just smiling ear to ear and asking ourselves "what just happened?!"  as we got into our car. It was amazing!! The Spirit was so strong. Linda was searching, and when she heard the gospel, it just clicked. Oh man. It was so cool.

Then!! We had a lesson with Mary and Scott. And we were actually able to teach them! You see, people here in Indiana realllllllllly like to talk. And so it was always hard to get them to stay on topic and get through an entire lesson. Mary was always confused with what the Book of Mormon was, she thought that Nephi building the ship was Noah......but! we were able to actually teach her the Restoration from start to finish. And they understand it! They know what the Book or Mormon is! And they understand why we are different. The next morning, She asked us to bring over another copy of the Book of Mormon for her husband Scott to take on the roads while he drives! It was great. They have been reading it. AND THEN! We took Mary on a church tour. And she loved it! We had Sister Bair come with us and she was a great fellowshipper. She used to be Catholic [like Mary] and was able to really connect with her. Mary said that she felt the peace and spirit in the Chapel. AND THEN!!! She came to church! We were sooooooooo excited. After Sacrament Meeting, I asked her how it was and she said that she felt that the speaker was talking just to her. Like he knew just what she needed and was speaking to her. She said she got a little teary-eyed a couple of times. It was so wonderful!! Family and friends, the church is sooo true!! AND THEN!!!!!!!! She came to Sunday School, and guess what the lesson was on???! Tithing. Really? Her first Sunday here and they talk about Tithing. but guess what??! She took it so well! She is already prepared and okay with paying when she is a member. What?! Heavenly Father just knows what these people need. It was so amazing! I can't even explain how wonderful it was. 

We had 8 investigators at church yesterday. The Bowers family, Susan and Saranna, and Mary. It was wonderful. Going to church as a missionary is so much different then going before. As a missionary you are all stressed about how they are taking the messages and if they feel the spirit...but it always turns out! They always love it and feel the spirit. The Church is True. 

This morning I had a wonderful experience during my personal study. We had a less-active pretty much bible bash us this week. He was throwing scriptures at us every other second from the Bible and not allowing us to talk. The spirit fled and we tried to get out as soon as possible. After leaving, there was a bad spirit with us, and we just felt off. I prayed to Heavenly Father to remove the evil spirit from us and help us to have his peace. And of course, He restored it. But I continued to ponder over the comments and questions that were made. I still held strong in my testimony, but I wanted to understand what he meant better. This morning as I was studying for an investigator, Heavenly Father lead me through a scripture chase all over the scriptures. He showed me the reasons why things were certain ways, He answered all of the questions I had. he truly hears our prayers. Even if they seem small and insignificant, they matter to Him. He loves us!! :D 

We had a lesson with Angie and Greg. They were a referral from a Sister Lloyd [who just moved to Arizona]. And it was amazing. We taught them about the restoration, and the spirit was so strong in their home. We bore strong witness of the godhead, of Joseph Smith, and of the Book of Mormon. Angie was very attentive and would ask questions and ponder. But throughout the lesson, Greg did not keep as much eye-contact or seem as interested. But as we bore our testimonies, you could see the spirit touch his heart. At the end he told us that at first he was a little hesitant. But he said "I know that you girls truly know that this is true. You can see it in your eyes." We told him that we wouldn't be out here if we didn't know it was true. No one can deny a true and heart felt testimony. And let me tell ya, If I didn't know that this church was true, I would have been home MONTHS ago. But I know that this is the only true church on the earth. This is the only way back to our Heavenly Father. We are the only church with the Authority from God to make things "count" or "transfer over" when we pass from this life.

It has been a wonderful week!! I love this gospel. I feel so honored to be a representative of my Savior at this time. I know I have much to overcome and do, but with the Savior, all things are possible. If you ever doubt something about the church, don't be afraid to ask our Father in Heaven, and then go search. Search in the scriptures, search in your heart. He WILL answer you. I can promise you that as a representative of Jesus Christ. He hears your prayers. He loves you. He has always answered my prayers and concerns. You matter to Him.

I love you all!! Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers.

All my love,
Sister Farr

08/13/13-Week 27 in Indiana [Week 4 of Transfer 5]

Hi there!

So! First things first. I got peed on by a dog this week. It was.....a fun experience :) bahaha. Next, I had a Peanut Butter and Jelly....cake. Yes, a cake. It was delicious! The Zumbrun family is so much fun. We had dinner with them again. My favorite quote from a story from them: someone asked their brother: "If you could have any superpower, what would it be?" he responded: "Immorality!!" his brother turned to him and said: " might want to talk to the Bishop..." ..... "bahahahha" (he meant immortality). It was really funny. :D Sister Colton and I couldn't stop laughing. They are just too fun. 

Third, I had a GREAT birthday!!! I got packages from you all and it made it the bestest birthday. I must say, I felt loved :) And I LOVED Dawn's "200 things why I love you most" thing. I may have cried just reading #1 with the web song. Yes, I might sing that to myself out here when I can't fall asleep :) [and Sister Colton and I may or may not have eaten the red velvet cupcakes for breakfast the next morning...they were sooooo good!!] 
I love you all!!!! It was great. I went to the Peacock's for dinner and they sang me happy birthday and everything. They are pretty much our family away from home. I love them!!

I have some exciting news though!! 5 baptismal dates for September!! Wahoo!! First is Wayne! He is progressing so quickly. he feels like he has finally been getting an answer from Heavenly Father that it is true! He likes the spirit that we bring, and reading in the Book of Mormon has really helped him come to know. He has been praying so much and constantly hoping to find out, and he is!! It is so hard when you have an investigator who is trying to know if the message you bring is true, and they pray and pray, but feel that they never get an answer. That is how he has felt for a while now. But he told us last time that he felt that God was telling him that it was true!! What?! Hooray! We are just so excited for him :) 

Next, the Bowers family has a baptismal date! It is for Sept 7th. They have been working with the missionaries for quite some time now and they are ready to get baptized. So, really, we did no work, we just came in picked them back up as investigators, and they pretty much asked us to give them a date. It was GRAND!! They are so ready and so excited :) I can't explain how happy I am for them! We had a lesson last night, and they were just so much fun. They are starting to open up to us more and get comfortable with us as their new guides. I love this work! Even though, you go out day-to-day and feel like you are doing nothing, the Lord blesses you and as you look back, you realize all that you have learned and become. 

I had a great exchange this past week with a sister named Sister Ward. She actually went home this past Saturday. Lets just say that I learned A LOT! She is an amazing missionary. She is a powerful teacher and is full of the spirit. I am so grateful that I got to spend just a couple of hours with her. I learned so much! But she went with me to our lesson with Shelby, which was great! In our lesson with Shelby, she really opened up. She is recognizing the spirit and wants to know more. We found out more of what she knows about the Church and were able to teach to her needs. We taught her a lesson to her needs about eternal families and tied it into the plan of salvation. She really lit up and understood what we taught. She even gave us a referral to her grandparents who are very catholic (and that is the last thing I thought would ever happen!). It is amazing to see how the spirit works. Shelby told us that she has definitely feels the spirit as we are with her. She told us that she understands why we need the Book of Mormon...she just gets it!! That is the power of the spirit. It helps them understand. If I didn't have the spirit, I would be doing nothing out here. Nothing would even matter. But, with the spirit, all things are possible. But, Sister Ward is such a Bold missionary. She tells people how it is, but in a loving way. She knows how to talk with everyone. She can teach people to their needs. It was just so great to learn from her! She chose to come up to us for an exchange out of all of the other sisters. The President asked her to go around to just a few sisters and she felt prompted to come to us. I definitely learned so much! I have so much more to do and become. But I am just going to take it step by step and the rest will work out.

I learned something really cool about grace this week. I learned it from the talk called "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. I have had a difficult time understanding grace as a missionary. People here have a very different concept of it. They think that because Christ did everything for us, we can pretty much "sit back and enjoy the ride". They don't have to do anything. But, he compares the way grace works to a mother and her child with piano lessons. here is what he says:
"Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice."
When we do things for Christ, when we follow him, we are not paying him back. We are "practicing" or in a sense, we are showing our appreciation to Christ for his incredible gift. His grace can and will transform us if we let it. Something he also said in his talk really hit home to me. He said: "The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there." 
It is an amazing talk!! If you haven't read it. The Savior and His is just incredible. We truly don't understand everything that the Savior did for us. And we never will. All we can do it try to show him how much we love him and appreciate Him for all he has done for us. We must forget ourselves, and do what he wants us to do. That is the only way to true happiness.

We had Zone Conference yesterday, and it was GREAT! Oh man. I love meetings. I know I am a weirdo, but I just love them! They get me so fired up and ready to go and conquer the world. Yesterday President Porter made a statement that brought me a lot of comfort. He said that I don't necessarily have to "want" to do this work. All I have to do is be willing and to do it. He made the point that even Christ, as he began the atonement didn't necessarily "want" to suffer all of our pains and punishment, but he was willing and he did it. We must align our wills with God's will. That is the only way to true happiness. Being a missionary has been so hard for me. I am exhausted every day. I have to push my self every day. I often just want to curl up in a blanket and watch a movie. But, I don't. I focus on WHY I am doing this. Missionary work is the work of Salvation. Because we have been so blessed to be members of this church, we have the duty and privilege to go out and share it with our brothers and sisters. I feel honored to be able to be a missionary now. I am learning to LOVE this work. This outpouring of missionaries is a fulfillment of prophecy. If you read in D&C 88:72-73. We are the Elders (or Sisters..) who the Lord is sending to "hasten [his] work". The prophecy that was made over 150 years ago is being fulfilled right now!!! And we are a witness to that. And I have the honor of being part of that force of missionaries. I just get filled with such gratitude when I think of it. I am truly humbled. The Lord allowed me to be sent here to earth at this time to be a part of the great work. He knows us, He loves us, and He wants the best for us. Sorry if I sound all preachy! I just get so excited when I talk about it. :D I just love this work!!!!!

Our dear Sister Kennedy (our Ward Mission Leaders wife) makes the BEST chocolate cake!! Today, she had us over and she showed us how to make the chocolate cake. It is sooo good. I will have to make it for you when I get home! It really is my new favorite recipe. mmmhmmm. 
I also wanted to make you all aware that Sister Porter (the mission president's wife) has a FaceBook page for the mission! She posts LOTS of pictures on there constantly (namely, tons yesterday from Zone Conference). The page is called "Ohio Cincinnati Mission" So, look it up and you can get updated about things that are going on and find fun pictures! :D 

I love you all! Thank you for your letters and your support! It means so much to me. I hope that you all have a wonderful week. I know our Father in Heaven loves us and watches over us. As long as you put Him first, everything else will work out. I LOVE YOU!!

Sister Emilee Brooke Farr

08/05/13-Week 26 in Indianna [Week 3 of Transfer 5] "Roller Coaster Week"


This week has been a little CRAZY! We have been having some major crises with our investigators. We had some ups and downs. But we also saw some really amazing miracles. We had some investigators this week who have been having a lot of financial problems and haven't been able keep up on their rent. So their power and their gas were shut off. We went over to their home and the mom was sitting at the table, and from the moment I looked at her, I knew that something was wrong. The light was out of her eyes. I sensed something. So, we asked her what was wrong and she told us all about their financial troubles. It was really sad. I have learned a lot about how to manage money on my mission..funny enough! But we talked with her and broke down how she could make it. Sister Colton just took off and started speaking like a motivational speaker and pumped her up! We watched her slowly get up out of the hole that she was in and saw the light come back into her eyes. Sister Colton and I had just been praying and praying this past week. And we saw the ward pull together and the Lord bless them! We had a sister in the Relief Society come and take all of the food from the fridge and the freezer and take it to her house to keep it good for them. The Bishop ended coming and helping them out financially through the church. People have pitched in to help them have a garage sale to raise some money this weekend. It has been really amazing to watch. It was a very stressful week for us though! We are a little burnt out. But we keep praying and praying.

Also, we are sad to say that Saranna has decided not to get baptized on August 23rd. She decided that instead of getting baptized with her brother Jeremiah, she wants to wait for her mom. But her mom won't be able to get baptized until next spring/summer because of some personal she will have to wait for a while. We tried to talk with her and help her to understand how important baptism is. We wanted her to understand that the longer she waits, the harder it will get for her to be baptized. Satan creeps into our life when we are in limbo. When we are just waiting and have no motivation or goal. Sometimes it is hard to see people choose not to follow what they know, when you have done everything that you can to help them. We will just continue to pray for her and try to help her mom work through her problems so that she can get baptized earlier. I know that miracles are real. Heavenly Father has a plan for them. Even if I don't see it at this point, I know that He loves them and has blessings in store for them as they work to obey Him.

Also, last week we did a Young Women/Young Men activity! Well, I showed them all the crafts that I have made for teaching. I have made apostasy cups (for teaching the restoration), a Plan of Salvation cut out, and a Gospel of Jesus Christ flower to explain the principles of the gospel. It was really fun to talk with the youth who are hoping to go on missions. We got to tell them some cool stories and help them to get excited about serving a mission. We have taken some of the laurels out teaching with us, and they have really liked it! I wish that I would have had sister missionaries to go out with before I came, it definitely would have been an eye-opener.

We are hoping to give the Bowers family a baptismal date this week! They have been working towards baptism for quite some time now and they seem to be ready. Brother Bowers has stopped smoking, and that was really all that was holding them up, so we will be working with them! We are excited! A family!!!! :)

Also, great news about Wanda!! (from Indy) She is on the compassionate service committee there and she is doing great! She loves it. I am so happy for her and her family. I loved to see her progress and become the amazing women that she is. I never realized that when you serve a mission, I am not just a missionary to these people for 18 months. But I am always "their" missionary. They will look to me and reach out to me for the rest of their life. I always have to be that example to them of how to Endure to the End. The work of Salvation is one that is a life-long commitment. And I feel honored to be a part of that.

We have been doing a lot of service too! Sister Lloyd was a member here who just moved this week to Arizona. And this week we painted A LOT! It was so fun. It has been amazing to watch her progress. She used to be less-active. But this past week as we spent quite a bit of time with her, she has become a little missionary! She talked with her friend who was there helping her paint as well, about the temple and gave her a pass along card. She even talked with her neighbor and told her neighbor that she would send the missionaries! She has grown so much. I have come to realize how important the spirit and service are! I have seen it transform many people here in the Huntington ward. Not only Sister Lloyd, but also Sister Rydell. She is a recent convert (RC) of 2 years and we have been in her home a lot helping her clean. She had an accident last year which resulted in her loss of memory. She only remembered being 17. She didn't even know her 5 kids. It was hard for their family. Since then, they haven't been the same. But we have been in her home working with her to strengthen her, and also her teenage daughters. We have seen her come back to church and smile more often. Also, not just Sister Lloyd and Rydell, but also the Ahrens. They were inactive for quite a long time. But we have been working hard with them. We went over there a couple of weeks ago and helped clean and vacuum. Then we went over again and helped stain the deck. And this past week we went over and helped them treat the wood in their home. And we will go back this week to help them again. We have just seen Sister Ahrens transform! She is coming back to church, and she is smiling much more. At first, she seemed sad and uncomfortable around us, but now, each time we see her, she lights up and is happy. I can't explain to all of you how important it is to serve our brothers and sisters. Serving them can be the way that we can get to their hearts and soften it. It is amazing. I have seen many miracles come as a result of serving.

Also!! This week we had some great experiences with some investigators. Jeanie...we had a great lesson! She has been taught by missionaries for a good 3 years, but we had a break through this week. We asked her a lot of inspired questions and she just opened up!! It was amazing :) We are hoping to bring her into baptism too. Without the spirit, we would be useless. The spirit is sooo key!!

Funny story.........we had an investigator ask us on a date this past week. Let's just say that we dropped him and passed him off to the Elders. Oh the joys of being a Sister Missionary!! Ha Ha!

A request from me: Thank you all for emailing me sooo much!!! It brings me so much happiness :) But because I am so loved, I don't have quite enough time to get to everyone. If you want to, I am sure that you can write me your emails, but do them through Dear Elder so that I get them in the mail (and they are free for you) and then I can use this time to send you this email. I don't know if that makes any sense...but I hope it does! I love you all!!!! Thank you again!

Oh!! AND It is my Birthday this week!!! :D :D I will be 20. I am excited. 

Love you!
Sister Emilee Farr