Monday, August 29, 2016

Both Sides of the Force - August 29, 2016

"Reunion in Maine" Priscilla with 2 of her MTC roommates

                     Hello and Happy Monday Friends and Family from Saco, Maine. While some people are going back to school this week (shout out to my BYU friends who start classes today! Hope you all are having/have had a great first day! Go Cougars!) we are still here serving in a beach town in tourist season. I honestly didn't think much would go on for the work here in the Saco Ward, much less in the Saco area itself with all the tourists but this week we had a total of 9 non-member lessons, all with local people who we got to share messages with. Two of those were with our still progressing investigator Dave, who was gone most of the week at Zion's camp in New Hampshire with the ward camp out, and the rest were people we contacted on the street or at the door in the past. Dave also said once he gets his answer from God he will be baptized so we are pretty excited.
                    With the work really picking up and with numbers to prove our success (although I have a firm testimony that missionary work is NOT about numbers) you would think we had a super fun week, right? Well, not really. This week Sister Mann and I hit some pretty serious walls emotionally and physically. I won't go into details but we had some pretty great opposition with hot weather, appointments falling through, people yelling at us, emotional crises, swindlers, and long car trips. It was not fun, especially at the beginning of the week.
                    All things seemed to be going against us despite the good things we were seeing too. It was really a crazy time. But by church yesterday when the members were asking how our week was all I could think of how contrasting the week turned out to be with so many highs and lows.
                    What I now want to explain is a principle we learn the best from Star Wars: We need to have good to have bad. Yeah, we also learn this principle in 2 Nephi 2:11- "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility" but Star Wars is cool too. We see so often that whenever there is the dark side of the force there is also the light side. The good side. The Jedi side. And that's the side that Sister Mann and I work for because we are Jedi. We are trying to bring people peace and in some cases save their souls. It's pretty great. Sometimes it doesn't feel great, especially when your emotionally worn out and seemingly without strength to push on and it's only 3 pm, but God, the master of all light, is here helping us fight for his cause. And we survive! And succeed!
                    Anyway, I'll stop with my opposition + Star Wars speech. As far as details go for this week I'll talk about the cooler experiences. Wednesday we went on exchange for a bit with Sister Badger who has recently been called to the mission presidency. She is already such a great missionary and we were able to get into two people's homes to share a lesson because of her persistence. She honestly showed us up haha. Thursday was zone conference and we said good bye to TOO MANY PEOPLE. The Hawkes who were previously in the mission presidency are being released so I won't be seeing them as often anymore. Same with the senior couple, the Pettingills. They all have done so much for me during my mission and I'm going to miss them a lot! I luckily got to see many friends again though like Sister Ritchie, the Brewer missionaries, and 2/3 of my MTC roommates. In other exciting news we as a mission are now working towards a new goal: A temple in Maine. In some ways it seems pretty farfetched but President Blair showed us the statistics and the ability to have that is not ridiculously out of reach. So we'll see a temple in Maine soon. Hooray!
                    Besides that I trust you all had a good week. Remember, in those moments of your lows, remember those highs will feel so much greater! I love and miss you all and hope you have a great week!
Sister Wright

The parents of Priscilla's Sunday School teacher when she was in high school live in Saco. They had Priscilla over for dinner last Tuesday and sent this picture. We didn't realize it then, but they also fed her on her birthday!

"Sister Pettingill! A senior sister I will miss so much too!"

 "The Hawkes! They are no longer in the mission presidency and I will miss them so much!+"

"Me and my baby"

An awesome looking group of missionaries!

Role playing at Zone Conference

The fire alarms went off while lunch was cooking at Zone conference so everyone evacuated the building and carried on in the parking lot

And lunch!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Now We're Secret Agents - August 22, 2016

 Sister Wright didn't send me a picture of herself this week. But she did send a video. I managed to grab a screen shot from it!

                  Hello and happy Monday friends and family and citizens of the world. It's time again to hear from your favorite Sisters in Saco, Sister Mann and Sister Wright. This week in review: We honestly don't know what we did that was that exciting. I mean, the week started off with District P-Day in Windham with another Nerf War. That was exciting. Even though my team didn't win like ever... But the Sisters v. Elders round was pretty exciting. Sister Guest from Cornish 2 got pretty close to beating all the elders so shout out to her. But yeah, besides that, Sister Mann and I pretty used to serving in actual Saco and Old
Orchard Beach now. And now we are secret agent spies.
                    Let me explain: Although this wasn't the first time that this has happened to me it was for Sister Mann. But we were basically scoping out this building for a potential investigator and were trying all the doors around it considering it was an apartment complex. Long story short we did find a door that would open so we went in and started hunting around inside the building for the number the person lived at (if you aren't playing the Mission: Impossible theme music through your head right now you are missing out). We find the apartment door but then realize we probably aren't supposed to be in the building anyway because the door we found to get in was open but the handle was locked. And by a buzzer system. So we weren't supposed to be in there and we stealthily escaped before anyone found us. Anticlimactic I know but it made Sister Mann feel pretty cool.
                    On Sunday we were scripture heroes again for primary. The stories weren't as cool as ones past because the primary presidency wanted to keep the theme for the month of treating your bodies as a temple and left us to find characters that lived the Word of Wisdom. All we could really come up with was Daniel (who wouldn't eat the Kings meat), Nephi and Laban (because Laban didn't obey the word of wisdom), and the Nephites that escaped by giving the Lamanite guards wine. So not really the craziest of stories. BUT we had three people we are working with to church this Sunday, two less active sisters and our investigator, Dave. This was Dave's first time at church and he told us afterwards he really enjoyed it! The Ward was super welcoming to him too so there is just general excitement all around over that.
                    We were able to teach Dave three times this week, each with members. One time we were teaching him outside because the only member we could find was a male and I'm assuming the Maine YSA came by and I got to see a member from Brewer Ward. That made my day. I don't know, other than that this week was pretty awesome. We learned that seven teaching appointments back to back means no time for a lunch break but all those appointments didn't follow through so we did get time to eat.  Hooray for Ward mission leaders who give you Jimmy Johns and eating the sandwich between appointments!
                    This week is also Zone Conference at Sister Mann's birthplace of Farmingdale so I'll get to see old friends and just be generally uplifted spiritually so prepare for fun stories (and yes, hopefully photos) from that. I love and miss you all and hope you have a great upcoming week. And to you Olympics fans: USA! USA!
Sister Wright

"What you do when your bored as a missionary at lunch. At least we now know Marvel wins and Benedict Cumberbatch is the chosen one"

"Irish dinosaur surgery. The dinosaurs arm broke and so we needed to fix it. With Irish accents (which you can't hear)"

Mom and Dad were able to go to President and Sister Stoker's Homecoming in Mesa. We loved meeting her mission president and seeing all of the returned missionaries that showed up!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Epic Adventures of Sisterman and Choose the Wright - August 15, 2016

Mom made her send a selfie because she didn't send any other pictures

                   Hello and Happy Monday Citizens of my mass email list. I trust you all had a safe and fun week. Things are going well here in the city of Saco with your friendly neighborhood Sister Missionaries. Sister Mann and I have decided we are actually super heroes, with Sister Mann and Sister Wright being our regular missionary identity. Our super hero missionary identities are really Sisterman and Choose the Wright, bringers of justice and mercy! Out saving souls, one copy of the Book of Mormon at a time. With the guidance of President B.L.A.I.R. (Acronym undecided yet) and the services of their vehicle S.A.L.L.E. (Salvation through Atoning Love and Life Eternal) which looks like your standard Toyota Corolla, nothing can stop them from sharing God's message!
                    But in all honesty, the work is picking up here since the switch. We got the Elder's old area and we're going through potentials we only had phone numbers for and called a man that looked promising. He answered, we explained who we were, and then asked if there was a time we could see him this week to share more of our message. He said sure but that later in the week wouldn't work, but he could meet that evening. We, being super sisters, said we could meet him that evening at the church because we would be there anyway for family history class and called a member to be there too. The coolest part was when we were getting to know him he asked why we called him because we had just called him after he had prayed for some sort of strength to overcome the everyday. SO COOL! We have since seen him again at the church with members but he didn't make it to church because he wasn't feeling well. But he will press forward!
                    Honestly, besides that, we continued to just missionary, well really SUPER missionary, throughout the week. We watered flowers for Heart of Biddeford for the last time this week. Sorry everyone! But the swap made this have to happen. I'll miss watering the flowers too but it will really be better for everyone. The food pantry we now serve at in Old Orchard gave us enough food to live through the apocalypse. Slight hyperbole but they honestly were so excited to give us food.
                    Saturday we had a more random adventure happen to us. So Saturday before lunch we decided to spend time in Old Orchard Beach, but the part that is all rental and beach homes, not the party-time beachy area. Because it was earlier in the day so everyone was either sleeping or at the beach, plus the overcastness, it was pretty quiet, but everyone we did catch was pretty nice. We stopped by the last name we had planned before lunch and on our way to the car we see a woman in sunglasses coming our way (I will now tell the rest of the adventure in epic superhero fashion because it's honestly that crazy): Sisterman and Choose the Wright approached the woman and asked her how she was doing. The woman than took off her sunglasses and enthusiastically responded: "IZZY?!" Perplexed by this woman's response, the super sisters assumed she didn't understand their original question and continued to greet her. After a minute she then understood we weren't the Izzy she had thought we were. This didn't deter the woman's enthusiasm and we asked her if she knew Christ. She, with the same zeal, proclaimed that she did and told us that she wasn't interested in reading the Book of Mormon, for she had tried before to read its contents but decided it was "too much paper". Still passionate about of message, however, she gave us the name and address of a nearby friend of hers and we assumed that was the end of our interaction with her. She boldly asked if we, being friends in Christ, would walk with her to her friend's place of employment who she was going to visit, so she wouldn't be lonely. Choose the Wright was leery of the request but consented, rationalizing that it was probably one of the nearby shops the sisters had just recently passed, and if things got too sketchy they could leave. The woman then guided them through a public park (which was full of tourists) down the way until they reached the busiest part of Old Orchard Beach, Old Orchard Beach Road, filled with tourist shops and restaurants to fulfill any tourist's needs like fried food and ice cream, all the while asking the girls questions about their beliefs, hopes, and dreams and asking the sisters to preach to her friend when they got there. Realizing that being ensnared in the tourist trap was almost as scary as any hole-in-the-wall this woman could have taken them, they reached the woman's friend's shop, a small T-Shirt shop off the beach. Choose the Wright had to act fast and told the shop owner (who didn't seem that close of friends with the woman) that they needed to go. The woman was disappointed but undeterred in her faith. Sure enough, the sisters were on their way back to their car, a journey that was now a lot longer considering they had just walked a mile in the opposite direction. So that was crazy weird.
                    I'll end the email this week with a crazy cool story though. So we have some members in the ward that speak mostly French, which is a language Sister Mann and I have the same level of understanding with, which is about 3%. But we were having a lesson with these members (they are sisters) and we asked them, in slow English, how having a knowledge of God being their loving Heavenly Father has blessed them. There was an awkward pause at first but then one of the sisters spoke up, sharing with us her testimony. The craziest part though was she was speaking with what I perceived no accent at all. No struggling or fumbling through the language. I don't want to assume that the gift of speaking and interpretation of tongues was there but it was by far the coolest experience because with all basic English, we were all able to discuss our Heavenly Father's love for us. And that's really what a testimony is, simple words with extraordinary feeling. It was such an experience.
                    But that was another epic week with Sisterman and Choose the Wright. I love and miss you all and hope you have an awesome upcoming week!
Sister Wright
Oh and Congratulations to my trainer, formerly Sister Banda, now
Sister Barton! I hope you enjoyed Arizoner! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Assumption Junction - August 8, 2016

       "Serious Oreos with chopsticks"       

       Hello and Happy Monday Friends and Family! This week I am writing you from sunny Old Orchard Beach, Maine in the newly conquered Elder's apartment by Sister Wright and Sister Mann. Ok, so not necessarily conquered but we have overtaken the Elder's apartment nonetheless. And they have the Biddeford apartment so it's all fair. And as I'm sure you are all wondering, the final verdict on how they left the apartment: Eh. We left ours cleaner and with more food than they left theirs but we made do. Luckily a lot of members signed up to feed us this week and other missionaries from our district donated food to the cause so we survived. The new apartment is owned by members so we're kinda spoiled with bunk beds and our own washer and dryer. Can't really complain much.
       Today while grocery shopping we not only got sushi (Well, I did) but apparently Saco Hannaford (grocery store) has a lot more Old Orchard Beach tourists and we heard a lot of French going up and down the aisles, even at check out. #Canadaishere
       And the work is picking up for us and the elders since the switch! They already had a new investigator by Coordination Meeting on
Thursday and we inherited their investigators that we are going to try to see this week. Lots of people in Saco are responsive to us sisters so yay!
       Oh and I love my new companion Sister Mann. We don't know how, but we basically have already accepted we are best friends. It's pretty great. A little distracting because sometimes we stay up late talking about Star Wars. But fun.
       So I'll just go through what happened briefly this week. Tuesday we had transfers and I lost Sister Ritchie. She went up to Augusta and Sister Mann came down from Augusta so basically switcheroo. Because Sister Mann just came down here and the elders had to go down to Manchester we spent most of the day finding basically anywhere we felt like. One cool person we met was a woman named Sue and she mentioned she loved visiting smaller congregation churches. Lucky for her our ward is normally around 100 people so she seemed excited to visit. We followed up Saturday and she said she had to work Sunday morning but was still excited to see us! At the end of the day when the elders got back we moved. First impression: *Quote from Annie* "I think I'm gonna like it here!"
       Wednesday was District meeting, including a half hour discussion on Star Trek on the way up. After District Meeting we found out the rest of the district was doing service nearby and forgot to invite us. Luckily they let us tag along, Sister Mann and I did inside chores like during furniture, and we got Italian Subs out of it.
       Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were all pretty much the same. We hit the pavement finding and got a few return appointments set up. We also helped around during service for members and nonmembers alike. Friday we got to spend time in Old Orchard Beach and I got to show Sister Mann the Atlantic Ocean. Granted, from the car, but she still enjoyed it. It was a precious moment.
       Sunday was crazy. We went to church as usual and had a couple from the Mission Presidency, President and Sister Hawkes attend. They are super sweet. Note: President Hawkes is also a children's book author and illustrator. Second hour we taught the CTR 6-7 year olds who were honestly really good for us. From there we spent third hour making copies of coloring pages and grabbing crayons to take to a family fun festival in downtown Biddeford. We had a table, 60 coloring pages from the Friend of Christ, families, and other gospel stories, and crayons for kids to color with. We were at the both for three hours and it was honestly really effective. We invited a lot of people to church this next Sunday and handed out seven copies of the Book of Mormon. Many people liked the coloring pages and we met a lot of good people. Hooray creative finding ideas!
       Overall, we had a pretty good week. This next one is looking to be pretty great as well. I hope you all stay safe and know I love and miss you all!
Sister Wright

 "From exchanges a few weeks ago"

"Got everything I want today" (Care package from home and sushi)

"Ah the Atlantic"

"Too happy. Again, from exchanges way back when"

"From Zone PDay way back when"

"Portland Headlight"

Monday, August 1, 2016

Death-Con 10 - August 1, 2016

 "Cheez-It Selfie, because #TeamCap"

                   Hello and Happy Monday Family and Friends from Saco, ME. This week has concluded week 12 since I arrived in Saco and all I can say is boy has it been an adventure. From follow-up training to beach days and all the missionary work in between, it's been crazy. And it's about to get even crazier because transfers are happening! Today we officially start my tenth transfer which in and of itself is crazy. Sister Ritchie is leaving Saco and going to Farmingdale and I will receive Farmingdale's baby, Sister Mann tomorrow morning. Not only do I get a new junior companion but Saco 2 is also switching apartments with Saco 1 and that will also be happening tomorrow. Anyone who knows me knows I hate packing so this moving situation is not my speed. But it will be incredibly beneficial in the long run so I'll stop complaining.
                    This last week has been stressful. To put it in a nutshell: We had worries that with the net loss of missionaries in the NHMM we (Saco 2) would be closed. I was living under this stress for most of last week and was honestly terrified of having to move not only my stuff but an entire apartment worth of stuff. And an area losing sisters, that would be sad too. But Friday we had confirmation that Saco 2 was not closing and we are so excited to continue to serve people here!
                    Oh and this last week was ridiculously hot. Like, we were told at Heart of Biddeford Tuesday that would be the hottest day of the week but honestly till Friday it was 80+ degrees with 80%+ humidity. Super. Gross. Luckily everyone is praying the rain in Maine falls mainly in the plains because we're in a drought and the crops need help.
                    Amongst the stress we spent a lot of time finding because even if we personally weren't here, it is still our purpose to teach people so we were out. And while doing that we found a lot of success. Not necessarily new investigators but a lot of nice people were interested in taking copies of the Book of Mormon. One particular instance was on Saturday where we had just tracted into this guy who saw us holding the Book of Mormon and immediately wanted nothing to do with us. And it honestly kind of shook me and I didn't want to keep tracting but we did and I kept saying in my head "Expect miracles. The next house we go to you will teach the whole family". And that didn't happen but it came pretty dang close. We saw they were having a family party in the backyard and the mom opened the door and I expected her to say "Sorry, we are too busy." No, she stayed in the doorway and we testified to her about the Book of Moron and how it blesses families. She willingly took a copy and said she would read while she was on vacation this week! Woo miracles!
                    Something that also always warms the nooks and crannies of my heart is whenever you knock on a door (be it member or not) as a missionary and they answer to say "I was just thinking about you" or "I was just praying" and knowing that you as the Lord's representative were sent to that person. I love those moments because they have happened to me a lot on my mission. This week it happened when we randomly decided to stop by a less active to see her before the swap and she answered to say "I've been thinking of you girls all day". That statement itself would have been great but then as we went in to sit down we found out her and her mom had just finished dinner and her mom (who isn't a member) asked if we had had supper yet. We honestly replied "No" and next thing you know they're serving us dinner. And they were so excited to do it too! Honestly, miracles happen every day if you believe they will.
                    And Friday we stopped by Dunkin Donuts to grab wifi and as we were standing a Canadian couple came up to us and asked what we knew about Mormons. By our shocked faces they could tell we weren't like Utah missionaries that are approached by members 24/7 so the wife said "Oh don't worry, we're members", asked where we are from, and honestly just made us smile. Thanks Canadian members!
                    Besides that, not much to report this week. I'm mostly not trying to panic a the fact I'm now 13 months in as of today. Mostly trying not to panic in general. But I hope you all had a pretty good week. I love and miss you all and hope you have an even better week coming up here!

Sister Wright
"From that one week we drove out to Kennebunkport"

"WinCo District photo. Elder Sander's mom (Elder from Chandler. Went to Dobson High) sent the straws for his birthday and wanted a district photo with them