Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Couple Three Weeks in Brewer - October 27, 2015

L-R: Sister Harward, Sister Wright and Sister Castillo

Happy special Tuesday P-Day edition of the weekly email family and friends! Normally this wonderful update comes to you every Monday but this week is super special because we had Zone Interviews yesterday so today is that special day you get to hear from your favorite Sister Wright, Hastening the work in Brewer! Speaking on the email title, sorry for the repeated theme of "a couple three". It's just such a fascinating phrase. I would say it is an even more fascinating New England-er phrase than "all set" instead of "all good", but I digress.
This week was full of crazy events you can just never plan for as a missionary. We always like to joke when situations happen "This didn't happen in The District!" or "They don't prepare you for this at the MTC!" because really somethings you can't prepare for. Just like in real life. Like we couldn't prepare for the people we met when we got our flu shots at Walgreens the other day. They were all really sweet. We couldn't have planned the two people we met street contacting who said "Man, I wish you had an extra one of those books" being, the Book of Mormon (and yes we gave it to them and explained what it is and to call us with any questions). We couldn't have planned for the unbelievably flat tire the van got Friday on Sister Castillo's birthday. That was a fun experience because we got to visit our ward mission leader's auto body shop, and Sister Castillo loves our ward mission leader.
Another thing I've learned just so far on the mission is how we as missionaries are sent to answer prayers. I can't count how many times, either in Brewer or Manch, that we have gone and knocked on a door and the person says "man, I was just praying for God to help me and here you" or "So and so (usually a member of the church) said they'd pray for me and you showed up". Sometimes I get distracted and think "I need to pray for x, y, and z and we'll do those things". No. We are here to answer other people's prayers and act as, like many women we have met have called us, angels. I think it's a lot easier as sister to be referred to as angels but really if you are acting with the Lord's will, you are sending an angelic message.
Not only are people praying for us on earth, but I know there are people praying for us on the other side of the veil. Yesterday at Zone Interviews I had the opportunity to again hear the senior couple Elder and Sister Adams training on the Family History and Temple project for recent converts. Elder Adams bore powerful testimony that not only is the work to salvation hastening here on this side, but there is a great missionary effort going on for those who did not accept the gospel in this life. I have always enjoyed doing family history and temple work and I hate when people forget that when they are doing temple work they are really helping someone accept the gospel and come closer to Christ, just like a missionary! We have some recent converts here in Brewer I cannot wait to help find names of family members who they can do proxy baptisms for so that they can have an eternal family! I know that as we do missionary work (which I say includes temple work) we will not only bless ourselves but our family as well. May we all have an awesome week without flat tires!

-Sister Wright
"Fall is cool"

Group Hug!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Many Bothens Died to Bring Us this Information - October 19, 2015

"Me with the super fun washer (and yes it has been fixed)" Who knew she was so excited about laundry? - Mom

Hello hello family and friends! How has your week been? Hopefully you have all been obedient in keep the commandments and following the direction given to us by church leaders. This week I definitely learned the importance of obedience and how it can effect our attitude, the attitude of the people around us, and just how many blessings we want to receive. Let me expound:
I am not going to lie, it has been really hard to adjust to Brewer and being in a trio. I've missed Manch, the ward members I loved down there, Sister Banda, and basically it felt like the beginning of the mission again when I felt homesick. Plus I had to learn how to navigate living with two companions in a new area so the initial adjustment was not easy for me. Then Wednesday morning we got a call from the Zone Leaders (who had just come from training by President Stoker) saying that we are to no longer have paper planners and we were quitting them "cold turkey" come next transfer. What we needed to do was take all of our extra planners we had in our apartments and give them to the leadership in the district so that we couldn't have them when the next transfer rolled around.
             I was frustrated to say the least. I couldn't believe that on top of my trial of adjusting to Brewer I also had to give up one of my favorite, most helpful tools so it could be replaced by a more expensive, less-effective resource. When it snows do I really want to take my iPad out to set up a return appointment? Plus what was I going to decorate every transfer? These and many other negative thoughts swirled in my head and I was not happy with this change.
I figured I knew better than the mission president and snuck three paper planners in my suitcase. Since that time my mind constantly wandered to thinking about those planners. "I will still use those, it's not like my companion would sell me out next transfer for using these". All of Wednesday was really hard. We walked more than I think I have in my life (ok, maybe besides Trek and marching band). A handful of appointments fell through. It started raining in the middle of the day while we were out (luckily we grabbed our umbrellas). The exterminator came so we couldn't return to our apartment for four hours. Left and right, things weren't working out and I just felt more and more frustrated and helpless.
The next day after we did service we set out to find some more people by walking and after walking for what felt like an eternity (but was really an hour) we were down this long, two-lane road with no side walk and trying to get to a pretty distant house. As we were walking a dog from a house across the street decided to come and join us the Brewer Crew which was fun. Until he decided to cross the road RIGHT AS A CAR GOING BY! I don't think I've felt so terrified in my life. The car was not stopping and neither was the dog. Three girls stood helpless and terrified as we saw the dog run back across the street, just to stop nearly two inches from the car that had its brakes screeching. The dog made it across the street and the owner and us were unbelievably relieved. (The annoyed lady driving the near-assault vehicle stopped and yelled back at us to "HOLD ON TO YOUR DOG!" Really? We are three girls in dresses walking on the side of the road and you think that is our dog? Anyway.) After witnessing that and realizing we are not going to make it to the distant house we decided to head back to where the streets we safer and we could avoid near-dog-death experiences. Silly me thought that'd be the end of my pet rescue saga.
On our way back we saw a cat who melted my heart and joined us on our walk. I don't know how, but this cat also had problems with believing staying outside the middle of the road was a good idea. Twice I walked out to the middle of the road, scooped up the cat, and walked it back to it's home (that was revealed to us by a neighbor who didn't want to see the cat smashed). Sister Castillo thought I was crazy for holding on to the cat and trying to keep it safe but after watching a dog nearly die I was going to make sure I did the right thing, starting with saying that cat.
Where I am going with this is just saying that when God gives us a commandment (like removing our paper planners) and we ignore that commandment (like stashing three in your suitcase), He knows when you disobey and you will be, for lack of a better word, punished for that. I love pets and Heavenly Father made sure to speak to me in a way that most effect me so I could learn to be obedient. As soon as we got back to the apartment after we played pet-patrol I came clean to my companions, removed the three planners from the apartment, and learned a great lesson. Because when we are obedient we are blessed, many awesome things happened after that. We had a lesson that went really well! We got the van back! I met a member of the ward who's daughter served in the Arizona Tempe mission! And I think the biggest blessing was suddenly my heart was softened and I suddenly didn't feel worried about adjusting to Brewer. I had a new love for the area and my companions. Obedience brings blessings. I can testify to that, and so can a cat and a dog.
Besides that, Brewer has been pretty uneventful. The weather has definitely hit cold. Yesterday evening when we were waiting for a member sister to pick us up for dinner it was slightly snowing/baby hailing. I'm terrified but it will all work out. It will always work out when we trust in the Lord and do what He asks of us. May we all remember to be obedient!
Sister Wright

"New study area *cough* corner *cough*"

"New study wall complete with paintings of the Palmyra temple (painted and signed by Sister Wheeler) and the Boston temple (from the dedication)
"My four pairs of boots (left to right: Walmart heavy duty, Thrift Store, Manch found, and Walmart Sunday)"

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Couple Three Sisters in Brewer - October 12, 2015

Sister Wright with her new companions, Sister Harward and Sister Castillo

                   Hello friends and family! I hope your week has been just as blessed as mine! As a lot of you know I am in the lovely city of Brewer, Maine which has definitely been a transition but I will talk more about that later. Before I talk about how cool [literally cool because the temperatures are staying around the 60s and lower] Brewer is, I wanted to give a shout out to my friends out in Manchester and just say thank you so much for all the love and support you gave me while I was down there. I am always going to love Manch and could not have asked for a better first area!
                    My last day in Manch (and last day with the wonderful Sister Banda) we had so much fun doing things like playing Phase 10 (which I won!) and my favorite: packing. It was actually a rough/stressful last day as we tried to prepare the apartment for the two new sisters but it got done. Can we actually take a moment to give a shout out to Sister Banda (because she'll be home in five weeks and hopefully will read this). Honestly I could not have asked for a better trainer because she basically became a new best friend and made sure I was always the best missionary she knew I could be. Major props to the Banda family for having such an awesome daughter/sister.

                    Tuesday was transfer day and there were tears. I knew I expected to cry when I left Manch but I didn't expect to cry as much as I did. But I knew it was what Heavenly Father needed for the area and especially for me. And I became officially Maine trapped, with not only one new companion, but two! Sister Harward and Sister Castillo were/are way supportive of me in my transition to Brewer.

                    Amidst all my anxieties of a new area and new companions I also got a cold and I just felt really inadequate in being called to Brewer. Both of them made sure I wasn't pushing myself too hard and was ok. They were also super excited when I hit 100 days of being a missionary (thanks for the package, Mom!) and were just really sweet. They recently opened the area to sisters (sister missionaries hadn't been in the area for a year and a half!) and I was coming in to their second transfer. I have learned my purpose being here is to learn how to be a better a teacher and also help organize the apartment itself (something I learned from my awesome trainer in Manch).

                    At first I was scared Brewer was going to be like what I heard all of Maine was like: boonie and old. But Brewer/Bangor is actually really suburban and pretty! Our apartment is by a bridge that connects Brewer and Bangor (a lot of the ward actually lives in Bangor) and every morning we walk the bridge and the sunrise over the river is really pretty! The trees still aren't entirely changing color but when the green disappears the area is going to be beautiful and I will be sure to get pictures!

                    I don't know what else to say about Brewer or my new area. Mainers are really nice and they definitely have their own things they say that New Hampsters don't necessarily say. For instance, Mainers like to say "A couple three". I thought it was fitting I heard that a lot my first week here considering I'm now in a trio. It is also pretty cool to help set up a new apartment for future sisters! Besides that, all I can really say is it has been a good first week in Brewer! I always appreciate the prayers of support and pray everyone else also has a good week!

Sister Wright

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire" - October 5, 2015

A picture of Sister Wright at a private cemetery in Manchester. Her Grandma Wright's maiden name is "Stowell" and we know some of the ancestors lived in the area

Well, one more week and one more transfer done. But the end of this transfer was great because we got to see the living Prophet and Apostles, even seeing the call of the three new members of the quorum of the twelve! What an awesome weekend filled with love and the Spirit! I will always love the guidance and revelation I receive from General Conference. I know it can always answer our personal problems, be they secular or spiritual.
General Conference wasn't the only fun thing Sister Banda and I did this week! We had some more dinner appointments with members which were really nice. We also were able to see the two less active sisters that we spend a lot of time focusing on and working with. Sister Archer (who we took to the Joseph Smith Memorial!) was really excited to see us as always and we were able to encourage her and everyone we came in contact with to watch General Conference, which we found out she did (keep reading to find out more!) and was just so thankful for us visiting her. Sister Archer is also pretty attached to Sister Banda because Sister Banda actually taught and saw her in her first area in Maine. With transfers at the end of this week we knew Sister Banda would probably be leaving Manchester and we took some time to reassure her that at least I would still be in Manchester. Same with the other less active sister we work with.
Friday was weekly planning day where we take some time to prepare for the upcoming week, check our effort and progress of the current week, and set goals and make plans to be better. With this upcoming transfer I took charge and somewhere in the middle of planning I realized that I was going to be teaching someone the "ins and outs" without the help and guidance of the wonderful Sister Banda and on top of that, the weather was getting really cold really quick and I had NOTHING for the cold that was already upon us. As the temperature has decreased, locals have been telling me the horrors of New England winters and being from Arizona, that's terrifying. Halfway through planning I slid under my desk and took a minute to cry because I didn't know how I was going to handle the area when I can hardly handle the cold. Sister Banda was able to coax me out and reassured me I'd do fine and that things would work out. That evening we had another appointment with another less active sister that we were going to see with a member of the ward, Sister Goyette, which fell through right as Sister Goyette was at our apartment to pick us up. What happened next was a miracle.
 We ran outside to tell Sister Goyette the bad news and to ask if there was anything we could do for her. She noticed my lack of jacket and asked if I had any warmer things which I had to explain that I'm from Arizona and that this pretty much was the warmest things I needed year-round. She looked at us and said "Get in the car, we're going to Goodwill". As a missionary, when a member tells you to do something, you basically do it as soon as possible so we got in the car and Sister Goyette took us to Goodwill and she and Sister Banda grabbed me the basics of what I need for the winter [because, let's be honest, like I would ever know what to get]. Shopping was a fun experience and Sister Goyette's generosity was a huge blessing in my life. I was crying that even, not because of the cold (although I'm still really scared about that too) but because of the generosity of the people out here. 
 When we are made members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we basically promise to always help others come unto Christ, be it through service, callings, or proselyting. I know this week I have been blessed by Christ-like members of the church, including and especially Sister Goyette. Sister Banda is pretty great too.The past twelve weeks we have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and impressions for Manchester. We love Manchester and honestly I could not have asked for a better training experience. We have spent a lot of time not only improving the area, but ourselves and I know that is something Heavenly Father wanted for both of us.
 Well, transfer news came to us between the Saturday sessions of conference and we found out not only is Sister Banda leaving Manchester to serve as senior companion but I am also leaving to serve somewhere as Junior companion. In mission terms, we are being "shot-gunned" out. Not only am I done being trained but I'm going straight into a new area with a new companion. And that means I have to pack. I. Hate. Packing. And honestly, Sister Banda and I aren't that surprised by the "shot gun". We could tell for a long time Manchester needs help neither of us could provide so we did our best and worked where we could and we'll see what happens from there. But yes, I feel like I am straight out of the frying pan and into the fire with my time as a missionary. Three months down, fifteen more to go! Wish me luck!

Love, Sister Wright

"Cool sunset Sister Banda and I experienced"

"Food combination Sister Banda had me try. Verdict: Not bad but not good either."

"Some 'Friends of Missionaries' gave us Jiffy Pop because I said I liked it and this was my showing it off to Sister Banda"

"Conference Breakfast!"

"Yes I took a picture of a squirrel because I'm not used to them and Sister Banda calls them my little woodland friends because whenever I see one crossing the street I yell 'Go little buddy!'"

Mom-Thank you Sister Goyette!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Little Blessings - September 28, 2015

Hello family and friends! I hope everyone has had a good week and had a chance to catch the General Women's Session of General Conference! I know I was given some pretty great revelation from the meeting and learned a lot about how as women we can be great examples in the world.
Well this week was another roller coaster of experiences. Monday I showed Sister Banda the nirvana experience that is Chipotle. I am glad she liked it after I have been building it up for her for the past 11 weeks, plus her many other companions who have praised it too. We also helped a sister in the ward prepare names for the ward temple trip on Friday and found her Great-Grandmother was already connected to a well entered family tree! It was so cool to find so many names so suddenly but we quickly realized as we tried to help her reserve names for temple work that a lot of the work had already been done- in 1960! It was so crazy to help her find her ancestors and, in a way, cousins who are members that she had no idea had converted! Family History is so cool!
Sister Banda and I were also able to go to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial which is something Sister Banda had been wanting to do since she first started her mission. It was an extremely spiritual experience for the both of us. It was also spiritual for the sister we have been working with. We brought Sister A with us because we know she loves Sister Banda and it would show her that God loves her and can help her overcome her weaknesses and the things that keep her from coming to church. What was even better was she came to church this Sunday! What a blessing for her and us!
It is nice to see the miracles during the rough weeks. This week was especially rough with a lot of moments where I would break down because I love the people here in Manchester but I couldn't see anyone coming to Christ by our efforts. Despite the words of encouragement I would get from Sister Banda, fellow missionaries, and ward members, negative feelings and doubts were building up within me. I could only forget about them when I would watch Mormon Messages during lunch and dinner, during the General Women's session of conference, and even during church. But Sunday evening I felt absolutely hopeless and the only way I can explain my feeling is it felt like my Spirit was "tingly", like when your foot falls asleep. I had to take some time by myself and fervently pray for peace and comfort and after that prayer I asked the Elders for a priesthood blessing. Both the prayer and blessing helped a lot. I could "breath" again and remember that my Heavenly Father loves me. He knows this work isn't easy, but that i show he helps us grow, by pushing us. And as I said before, He always gives us little miracles. They definitely add up when you are having a rough week. I know one HUGE miracle we all will receive this week is General Conference! I can't wait to hear the words of the living prophets and grow in my faith in gospel truths! May we all have a good week in preparing for conference!

Sister Wright

"Reminds us that we have prophets to bring us closer to Christ"

"Cool shot of modern prophets"

Sister Wright and Sister Banda

"Trying to be an artist"

Sister Banda, Sister A, Sister Hebert, and Sister Wright

"When you get the light just right it lights up like a candle. JJ Abrams would enjoy the effect." Mom-She hasn't changed!

"My companion was happy!"

"We should win a cutest companionship award"

"Chapel by the birthplace"

"That's a cool street"

Sister Wright, Sister A and Sister Banda

Sister Wright and Sister Banda "We are the cutest companionship"