Tuesday, June 28, 2016

52 Weeks - June 27, 2016

"Because when don't I take selfies with food?"

                 Hello and Happy Monday friends and family. I am coming to you with a message from after being a missionary for 52 weeks, basically a year. July 1, 2015 I entered the Provo MTC and began my service as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can say I have learned A LOT over these last 52 weeks about myself, about the Lord, and about New England. I decided wanted to highlight some of those for you this week before I go into what happened on week beautiful 52.

Things Sister Wright has learned in her 52 weeks of missionary service [in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission]:
-Missions are stressful (not that I didn't anticipate that but I can testify that the stress will never really go away, you just learned how to deal with it in its many changing forms. Stress is like a Pokemon in that way, but I digress).
-Whoopie Pies are the best dessert on the planet (especially in Bangor, Maine).
-Make friends with people with cats (or dogs if you're a dog person) so you can get an occasional cat/dog fix.
-Missionary service is a lot easier once you forget yourself and lose yourself in the work.
-Not everyone likes the MTC cafeteria food, no matter how long you worked there and enjoyed the leftovers.
-It's easier to lose yourself when you make the work fun.
-There are no such things as bad days on the mission, only really hard days.
-Never give up on people.
-Do not live below your privileges, you are a child of God so if you need help ask your Heavenly Father!
-No matter how badly you don't want to take a test/final/anything it's not comparable to being hit by a truck. Trust me, taking that test is a lot easier.
-Wear reflective gear at night.
-Don't always trust a guy that says the wife is home so it’s ok to allow you into his home.
-Don't question the fish head
-Always butter the waffle iron
-The best missionaries are members.
-You may think daily you know the Atonement but you are wrong, you will constantly be learning more about your relationship with Jesus Christ.
-There isn't anything Ben and Jerry's can't fix. Unless you're lactose intolerant. But they make almond based Ben and Jerry's now so you should be good there too.
-Try a funny accent around your companion. Make them laugh.
-"These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen." –Elder Holland
-In Christ's gospel we get points for trying!
-Don't look back longing for something that isn't there.
-References are ok in moderation.
-It's ok to make mistakes in teaching situations. Those mistakes have honestly been the greatest opportunities I and the person I have been teaching have to grow. And the spirit is the true converter anyway.
-Have courage and be kind, or as Elder Rasband says, “Be sweetly bold.”
-Make exercise time a game, especially when it's cold and gross outside.
-Never say you can't do anything because if you think that way you probably can't.
-There is an enabling power of the Atonement, not just a redemptive power. Both are great but realize that you have Jesus Christ to literally give you strength when you alone can't do more.
-You have individual skills/traits that the Lord needs YOU for. So use them!
-It's ok to say "All I have to do right now is" if you are facing a big task. Heavenly Father doesn't expect you to finish the big things perfectly and all at once. That's totally no fair.
-Being shotgunned out of an area is ok. 95% of the time it's not personal and not because you messed up.
-Trios aren't too bad.
-You can't get ready for the day in an hour. And get up at 6:30. And go to bed at 10:30.
-Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, from free Dunkin Donuts to your favorite "apostate" song playing somewhere in the background.
-We live at a time where there is a promise that we can live with our families forever.
-Heavenly Father loves you. Just know that.

                    This is by no means the end of my list, I want to keep learning! But I just want you all to know that these last weeks have really made me grow and to testify to you all the joy of missionary service. It's real. It's not easy and there have been a lot of things I haven't wanted to do but this is His work, what more can I ask for?
                    Moving on to this last week, we had a pretty good time. Honestly, we just did missionary stuff like finding. We have been walking a lot because, in President Stoker's words: "The sun is out, and so should you". So yeah, sun screen and bug spray for days. I actually think I may be tanning out a bit. I definitely have a tan line from my "no show" socks there's one blessing of the mission: "Getting tan when you normally don't".
                    Another blessing this last week was we have made it a goal this next 6 weeks to have at least 10 lessons with anyone (member or non-member) and we exceeded that with 12! What more, one of them was with an investigator we have been really trying hard to meet and we really stopped by to set up a return appointment and she initially said she was busy but then she was like "Wait, I have like 15-20 minutes, how long do you need for a message?" We were like "That long..." So we taught her like right there about the Restoration and she was way excited. We hopefully will see her tomorrow with a member so pray that works out!
                    We have been seeing a lot of less active members and one in particular reminds me of my dear friend Sister Archer from Manchester. I hope she enjoys my company as much as I enjoy hers. She is hilarious.
                    Our new District is pretty great and even though we lost some pretty hilarious elders we got some pretty awesome ones in return so can't complain much.
                    Saturday and Sunday we did the most walking because it's the end of the month so miles are a little scarce. But in the time walking we have handed out a Book of Mormon, talked to a sweet older lady about her family, passed someone walking their gecko, and just met a lot of pleasant people.
                    Overall, like I said, this week we really just missionaried. Tomorrow we get President Blair. I will miss the Stoker's so much but they have things they need to do in their lives. And the Blairs will be awesome, especially since they are visiting Saco Ward first to speak! So go team NHMM!
                    I love you all and I hope you noticed some positive changes in you the last 52 weeks. I know change is possible, it's really, and it's what we really need sometimes. I love and miss you all and have a wonderful first week of July. Next week will be Zone P-Day (yes, again) so the email may be a little sparse!
Sister Wright

"Sister Ritchie and some of the 4th decorations"

"Our large rectangular festive tablecloth on our small round table"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Another Transfer Already? - June 20, 2016


                    Yes, hello, it is your favorite New England Sister Missionary with the tales of her life this week. May I just start by saying I can't believe we are coming up on my year mark so soon but here we are, basically looking at the face of July, and wondering "When did this happen?" I honestly have no idea. It really hit me when yesterday we finished up Sister Ritchie's study of "The First 12 Weeks" by watching The District 2 and I vaguely remember this was the same thing I was doing last year for Father's Day, watching The District 2 on our TV. And that really freaked me out. Also, Happy Father's to all dads out there, especially my dad, and continue being good examples! I know appreciate all my father did/does for me. And I figure I: should highlight this in my mass email because we don't get to call home for his day. But thanks for everything Dad! And Happy Birthday! I enjoyed a root beer float in your behalf yesterday.
                    But as far as the week went we made it. And by "we made it" I literally mean Sister Ritchie and I are spending another 6 weeks together here in Saco! Woo! This week really tried to mess with us, especially Saturday, but we wouldn't let it.
                    Monday after Zone P-Day Round 2 we really tried to contact anyone within walking distance, in the drizzly rain, but didn't find anyone. That's ok because while we were walking I remembered we had forgotten to call a referral the Elders had given us to set up a return appointment and she was so excited that we called. She even set up an appointment for the next morning and all of us were excited. Tuesday that appointment fell through, but again that's ok because she called us during companion study right when we started talking about her. If she's not inspired and prepared to join I will cry. And we had other appointments throughout the day fall through. The most fun thing was we help with family history every Tuesday evening and this week we had a member come with some problems she had been having with Familysearch.org. I was so excited to help her with what I knew about the website and really enjoyed hearing some of the stories of the people we were trying to accurately enter. Added Bonus: Some of her ancestors were from South Berwick so that was a fun throwback to Somersworth. Family History is so fun! OH ALSO Tuesday we painted the site of some temporary stairs for the Biddeford Ball that went on this Saturday during La Kermisse (the annual Franco-American Festival). We had fun painting, especially since we did it under the direction of a local fashion company, Angel Rox.We got to meet the owners and be in the warehouse/store and wanted to touch all the clothes, it was a problem. But the stairs were painted Black and Tan, not too exciting, but still pretty nicely done on our part.
                    Wednesday was the last district meeting of the most "sibling-like" district I have been a part of. I have enjoyed learning from every member in that district and am sad to see a lot of them go but they have to go be awesome somewhere else. Besides that we spent a lot of time finding both Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday we also did service at the food kitchen where there was a third of the number of people we usually get, mostly because of La Kermisse, which started Thursday. That night was supposed to be fireworks which we didn't get to see, our apartment windows weren't positioned right to see them :( But I at least got LOBSTER finally for a member meal. I am so spoiled in the Saco ward, honestly.
                    Friday we went to Sanford for an appointment for Sister Ritchie. It was weird because on the way to the office we passed the road that led to the Sanford chapel. Again, throwback to Somersworth. This is what happens when you only serve two areas north of your last area I guess. And don't worry about Sister Ritchie, health wise she is alright!
                    Saturday, somehow we survived. Our usual opportunity of service fell through and we were already struggling to know where to find people so that two hour gap really tried to break me. Especially since most of the ward was in Boston at the temple. And everyone local was at La Kermisse. But we did it. We took things one person at a time. We got to visit an ill sister and sing a hymn for her which she really enjoyed. We set up a return appointment with another less active brother. By the end of it all somehow we made it. And I'm so grateful we did. Especially since transfer news was that night. We were blessed to find out we were staying together, so it looks like I'll be sending my year mark here in Saco. I really can't believe it has been a year since I started this journey but I am so grateful I did. I hope you all have been blessed in the last 51 weeks, because I know I have. I love and miss you all!
Sister Wright 

 Poor Sister Ritchie has a seafood allergy and the members were nice enough to provide two different dinners!

Sister Wright and District-No idea why the lunchbox and toys

Transfer #9 Planner

Transfer #8 Planner

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

20 and Proud! - June 13, 2016

                "It's my birthday gift to me! I'm so happy!"               

                    Hello and Happy Monday friends and family. I am coming at you from the Portland Chapel on Zone P-Day round 2. Yes, we went to Portland Headlight again but I haven't even told you round 1 of Zone P-Day so I will just jump right into that so you don't have to wait to hear about the awesomeness of this week. Before I go into the details I want to just say thank you to everyone who sent me some form of birthday love! I have really appreciated your emails, letters, and prayers! Leaving my teens wouldn't have been as awesome if it weren't for you all so THANK YOU!! Onto the week!
                    Monday was zone P-Day as I announced last week. Sister Ritchie and I arrived a little later than everyone else but we still got to play a bit on the field. As we were walking up though the entire Zone started singing Happy Birthday. As always, I was super awkward but like the singing happening. I really have an awesome zone. On our way from the Portland Headlight to the Portland Chapel Sister Ritchie and I (well, mostly I) stopped for Lobster Rolls which were wicked expensive but way worth it. So yeah, pre-birthday fun in Portland.
                    Tuesday we did missionary things. Quite honestly that's the best I could explain it. Taught some but also went finding. That evening we were at the church to help with the Family History Class and one member mom said "Hey, we have extra pizza, would you sisters like some?" Uh, yes. So we had Little Caesars my last day as a teenager. Couldn't have asked for a more teenager-y experience than Little Caesars. Oh and the weather was cool. That night the wind, thunder, and lightning picked up and reminded me of monsoons back home. It was a cool feeling.
                    Wednesday I officially LEFT TEENAGE-HOOD! 20!!! In all honesty, it was a long day but still good. Had a member lunch, service at Heart of Biddeford, a lesson with a member, and the highlight: Member Dinner with the traditional Birthday Cheesecake! I wish I could say there was like ONE THING that made the day awesome but overall it was just great. I really just felt blessed. But Thursday we went back to ding missionary things, weekly planning, and doing service at the food kitchen. All in preparation for: FRIDAY WHICH WAS ZONE CONFERENCE! It was the Stoker's last LAST zone conference and it was so emotional. We laughed, we cried, and really felt the spirit. We all had the opportunity to share our golden truths and I got to see some old friends from old areas and districts. At lunch Sister Ritchie and I got to eat with the Stoker's with the Brewer and Ellsworth sisters. But the big event everyone is going to write about is getting to hug Sister AND President Stoker. He said he was so proud of me and I can't wait to see them back in AZ sooner than I like to believe.
                    Saturday we contacted a really solid referral the Elders found for us and did service at another food pantry. After we helped organize all the food we helped wash the windows. Sister Ritchie and I look down and we see this ugly giant mosquito thing with huge wings and the lady says "oh, that's only a Diamond Needle." UHM, WHAT?! It was gross and we got creative washing windows around that thing. Sunday we helped in Primary second and third hour during sharing time. We helped teach the story of Jonah and the Whale with tarps outside. When we were "in the whale" we all went under the tarp. Overall I think the kids really enjoyed it.
                    Well, again thank you everyone always for your love and prayers. I hope you all have a good upcoming week! Love and miss you all!

Sister Wright! 

"Welcome to Maine. MOXIE!"

 "Portland Headlight. Unfortunately it had scaffolding around it"

"Ah, the Atlantic"

"I love my zone"

"My zone are dorks"

"For my Mom, landscape"

"More for Mom"

"Comp photo"

"Let me take a selfie"

"Gift from the Cornish Sisters"

"Things we had to stop for"

"Why my trainer is the best"

Birthday Dinner

Birthday Cheesecake

"Bet you can't tell who is 107 and who is 20?"

"Best shot of the sisters with Sister Stoker that I got"

"With the Stokers"

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

11 Months of Awesome! - June 6, 2016

"Just the one photo this week but it's me being super thankful for the birthday letters that are already coming in :)"

                   Hello and happy Monday friends and family, it is I, your friendly New England Missionary, coming at you with a probably relatively boring email for the week. We had a pretty solid week considering we survived. We have had to stop seeing a lot of the people we had been seeing as investigators so we spent a lot of time finding. But it has paid off, looking at the week with a handful of teaching appointments and Wednesday having two meal appointments (I solicit meal appointments for my birthday, what can I say?). But this upcoming week you should be getting a more exciting (not "hit by a truck" exciting) although apparently that happened six months ago, WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!) or "fish heads and water problems" or "food poisoning and Elder Rasband exciting" BUT STILL EXCITING) email with today being Zone P-Day at the Portland Headlight (heads up, that's a lighthouse) and Zone Conference on Friday! Oh yeah, and Wednesday Birthday shenanigans. So get pumped for an exciting upcoming week! For now, accept my meager mediocre weekly email!
                    Well Monday was still Memorial Day but Sister Richie and I laid pretty low, not venturing out too much to save our energy for this week's P-Day. But Tuesday was pretty fun. We went to Heart of Biddeford and as always had no idea what to expect to do for service. We showed up and they asked if we wanted to water the flowers in downtown Biddeford and I thought that sounded pretty easy to do. The catch: The city of Biddeford has this big pump thing that you pull in a big metal wagon to water their flowerbeds along downtown Biddeford. So it turned out to be a lot bigger task as we (mainly Sister Ritchie) pulled this wagon and jet pumped water at the newly planted flowers. They'll survive.... And Sister Ritchie will survive too because as she was pulling the cart and it ran into her ankle and I mean seriously ran in. Like a couple of gashes and bleeding ran in. She is the toughest thing though and we went on watering flowers. Afterwards we of course cleaned and bandaged her up, but you finish your service strong! Tuesday we also stopped by a pretty solid referral from the Portland Elders. We had tried calling but couldn't catch her so we went to her home, walked up their stairs (more hopped in Sister Ritchie's case) and she opens it, says "I'd like to see you again, when are you free? And do you want an ice cream sandwich?" Uhm, YES! So we set up a time to see her this week and got an ice cream sandwich. Thanks Portland Elders.
                    Wednesday was start of my eleventh month wearing the black name tag which is still really hard to come to terms with. An Elder in my district, Elder Urry, brought it up in district meeting and it just felt weird to think we were almost a year in. In my case I'm more than halfway done. Double digit months in the field used to feel like an eternity away and now I'm thinking, "Man, this is too fast!" But enough of my mini-existential crisis, I'm bound to have another one this upcoming Wednesday when I'm two decades old. Thursday we had another fun day of finding, catching some people, and doing service at a local church's food pantry. The coolest thing about serving at that church is where we serve there's a big mural of a beautiful building which Sister Ritchie found out is the Hawaiian temple. Apparently the artist visited there and felt the spirit so strong he/she had to paint it. So here we are serving food to people in front of the temple. Awesome! Friday was weekly planning day and more finding. We invited a lot of people to learn, including members, particularly so Sister Ritchie could practice teaching and people have been receptive which has been nice.
                    Saturday we explored a lot outside of Biddeford. Well, we actually started our day in Biddeford and stopped by a family we occasionally see and they lost their dog in the course of the graduation party they were having for their daughter. So we helped them look for a bit. Why am I always chasing dogs? Later we did service organizing at another church's food pantry and answering questions there which is always nice. We stopped by a sick sister in the ward and same a hymn to cheer up her spirits which she really appreciated. And we finally made the journey to a gem in our area, Kennebunkport! Why is Kennebunkport cool besides having a long and difficult name? Kennebunkport is where the Bush's (like, THE Presidential Bush's) have a summer home/property/camp and the Saco ward normally gets a couple of families that stay for the summer BECAUSE their dads are secret service men for the Bush's. So we went down there to find some people but didn't spend a lot of time. I mostly am excited to have Kennebunkport because it's like Wolfeborro and the Romney's/Marriott's except not really.
                    Sunday was your typical, dark and misty Sunday with a wonderful sacrament meeting and visits to the assisted living home WITH NO SPOILERS! For dinner a member couple was so generous to throw me a Pre-Birthday with stir fry chicken AND/OR SHRIMP and brownies with candles (not twenty candles but that's ok). I felt so blessed and so happy to be here in Saco. I've actually been going through a lot spiritually and emotionally in my time serving here and every night as I've said my prayers I've had the precious experience of feeling, actually feeling, my Heavenly Father's love and pride for me, especially as I've felt less than adequate at serving Him. I know He loves me and He hasn't left me to do this (the mission, life, anything) alone. I know He loves you. And if you ask Him and open your eyes, He will show you. May we all have a blessed and fun week!
Sister Wright