Monday, December 30, 2013

Marshmallow in a Marathon

Happy New Year family!
Do you ever feel like you are a marshmallow running a marathon? (maybe don't answer this one dad it may not apply to you)  But like in life you are running, but your actually just rolling because you're not ready to go that fast?  like a blu-ub...Imagine what that sounds like. 
Sometimes that's how life goes though right?  Sometimes we just want to sprint and our marshmallow selves are just not quite capable of that! 
We'll come back to that topic. 
 First of all I just wanted to thank you all for the lovely skype chat we had on wednesday!  How odd that was to just sit down and talk to all your beautiful faces!  As my friend here Sister Palmer said when talking about her family talk, "it was like 'what? they still exist?!''"   I'm glad you still exist :)    It truly was a Christmas to remember, not too often that you find yourself in Bellevue Nebraska wishing people that you have just recently come to love a very merry christmas!  That is one thing that makes being here so easy, the people here are too easy to love!  They wrap their arms around you and you can feel at home.   It truly is a blessing that comes from knowing that God is real and loves us all so perfectly.  Because of that we can feel that love where ever we are.  I know that I felt God's love powerfully on Christmas day as I talked with you, as I talked with my companion and as I talked with people in this neck of the woods.   We live in a glorious world and I am so grateful that I have been blessed with the opportunity to be here serving. 
So as you know life is never easy, and that doesn't change when you are a missionary.  Weird right?  Life is still difficult in so many different aspects.  When we go on exchanges we are helping boost these sister's areas and it is remarkable how many miracles we see!  It is also spiritually draining, we leave feeling exhausted and basically like marshmallows running a marathon.   Though even though I am human(marhmallow)  I know that the Lord provides a way for miracles to happen.  The Lord knows what we need.  Right now he wants me to learn to be spiritually strong even when I feel like a spiritual marshmallow.  Do you ever feel that way?  I have learned in the last couple days that as soon as I start doubting myself, I just need to open the Book of Mormon and be reminded of the peace that the gospel truly brings.
I need to remember to ask myself "What does having a Savior Jesus Christ mean to me?"  It is as I ponder this that my spririt is rejuvinated and I have faith that I can finish this marathon. 
Every person on this earth is a Child of God.  How often to you think about that?  How often does that stop you in your tracks and make make you look at the world differently?  That is something that has been causing my marshmallow self to roll lately...  (forgive me for being so weird... it's kinda just that kind of monday)  I know that the Lord guides us and he trusts us as we exercise our Faith and prepare ourselves for this work.  I know that each one of you has helped me in ways I may not be able to articulate but ways that has helped me become who I am.  Matt 4:19 "follow me, and I will make you fishers of men"   I know that each one of us is being "made"  not by our own doings but by the Lords, and the people he places in our paths.  I am learning that everyday!  I feel like he will one day be able to look at us and be proud of what we have become, but we must let him refine us, we must face the trials he has in store with us and we must never stop running the race.  Someday you just might turn into a marathon runner, but until that day keep running. 
I love you all dearly!  I appologize that this e-mail is weird, but sometimes you just have to type what comes to your head.   I am looking forward to another week here in Nebraska!  We have lots of exciting things this week!  We are planning to commit 2 of our investigators to baptism this evening.  I have faith that the spirit will direct these lessons.  Pray for me, pray for Brooke and pray for Angie,  I know the Lord has a plan for these two sweet sisters.  I pray that we will be able to teach them by the Spirit.  
Good luck with celebrating the new year!  I will be celebrating by going to bed at 10:30!  It's bound to be a blast!  (maybe we'll count down and pretend we live in New York or something! :))  I love you all!  Take care!  I'm glad the Christmas-stache found you!  Love you!
Love Always,
Sister McMaster

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Bells Ringing Singing!
I realize this is like the same title as last week, but I think it's more significant this week :)
How are you all doing family!?  Staying sunshiny warm in California??  I love the pictures you have sent me!  Every one seems to be changing in a good way :)  I am so grateful for all of you!  I hope you know that. 
So this week Sister Youngberg had 2 exchanges and Zone conference!  So we felt like we hadn't been in our area in like a million years but it was a really really good week.  Zone conference was incredible.  We learned about the atonement.  I was so touched as several missionaries shared their tesimonies of how the atonement has worked in their lives.  I hope all of you have a chance to think of the Savior and what he means to you.   If you get a chance you should look up a video on youtube, it's called "Missionaries and the Atonement"  President used it in his training.  I was overwhelmed with the power of it.  During this holiday season there is no greater gift we could give to anyone our savior included than that of inviting someone to come closer to Christ.
So I had a fun experience I thought I could share, and Aunt Kristie asked if I had any caroling experiences, good thing that was what I was planning to tell you about!  Music is one of the most remarkable tools of the spirit.  It touches people in a way that words cannot.  While on an exchange I was with Sister Beck who had heard of this great idea called the "living Christmas Card".  The Idea is that we "blast" people with the spirit!  We go to their door and begin by singing a fun christmas song then a spiritual song, we read Luke 2, bear testimony and state gratitude we pray and then we leave them there.   Cool right?  haha you are probably thinking "or a really good way for people to think your a weirdo"  Yes Thomas I know I just read your thoughts.   But Sister Beck was prompted to go visit a referral they had recieved a week or so ago and so I came along.  We knocked on this woman's door and she let us in to give her her "christmas card"  We sang Rudolph and she began to sob, (weird right?  who knew rudolph was such a powerful song?)  But she told us that her daughter had died the year before.  She was a 9 year old healthy child, she was sick one day and they took her into the doctor where they found it was cancer.  She died 6 days later.  I was overwhelmed at this tragedy.   We continuted with our singing, as we sung silent night, then we read Luke 2.  How powerful it is to read of the birth of our Savior.  We bore testimony to this sweet woman that the Savior of the world is real.  He died for us that we might all live again.  We testified that he is taking care of her daughter, he is so mindful of her sweet family.  It was an incredible experience.  She shared with us after about how she had never felt so lonely during the holidays than she did after losing her daughter, but she very much appreciated a reminder of the peace that can come from the holiday.  She also sympathized with us missionaries who are away from family during the season, we shared how yes it is hard sometimes but no matter what we know we will be with our families once again, and will be able to spend eternity with them.   She took the missionaries number and I pray she calls these sisters and progresses in the gospel.
So maybe someday I'll come back to Nebraska City and get to teach her, but until that happens I hope Sister Beck and Allen will have an opportunity to help this woman progress.   Miracles are happening all over the world.  It truly is an incredible experience to be a missionary right now!  I love every minuite of being out here.  I hope you know I'm really well taken care of, I appreciate the incredible amount of candy you have sent me it is definately a sweet Christmas this year.
I love you all!  Be good and serve anyone you meet so they can feel the happiness that you all have.  Have a very Merry Christmas!  I'll talk to you soon!  (super weird that I'll be talking to you, don't freak out I pray I haven't turned into a lion or something....)  I pray for you and I quite honestly feel the prays you are sending my way.  Thank you so much for your constant support. It means so much to me.  
Love you all to the moon and space and back and around the planets and inside and out of snowflakes. 
Sister McMaster 

Loving our Itsy bitsy teeny tiny christmas tree!

we try to make pretty faces occasionaly....

Upside down pictures!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Bells are Ringing!

Hear what they say to you, Jesus is born in Bethlehem!
Hello sweet family!  I hope you are all staying warm! 
I wanted to tell you all how very grateful I am for the love and support, and for the sweet notes you sent in a Thanksgiving Package, I felt so loved.  You are all the very best :)
So I had a sweet experience yesterday in Sacrament Meeting that I wanted to share with you.  I was pondering the Atonement as I listened to the sacrament Hymn.  We have Christmas Zone Conference this week and have each been asked to write a 1 page talk about the atonement, so I decided to dedicate my thoughts to the Atonement.  Often when I ponder topics like this I just end up writing all sorts of questions down in my journal as I try to focus my thoughts and feelings. Any way I was pondering what the Atonement means to me.  What does the Atonement mean to you?  What is the power of Christ's love?  How is it specifically manifested to you?  As I pondered these questions I felt peace, just soft peace.  Do you know what I mean?  It's the peace that fills your soul, it's hard to explain but the power of it is real.  I realized that that is what the atonement means to me, it is the assurance that my worries and doubts are known by my Savior.  The words to the hymn Revently and Meekly Now displayed my thoughts exactly.  "In the solemn faith of prayer Cast upon me all thy care... Be obedient I implore, prayerful, watchful evermore, And be constant unto me, That thy Savior I may be"  I love that hymn.  It is so powerful.  
During Christmas I often have stressed about what to make or buy for this person or that, always wanting desperatly to make their Christmas wish come true,  I overwhelm myself often when I think of all these things to do, but I realized the gift that I truly do want to give to each of you this year.  That is the gift of peace.  I don't know how to package it up or mail it or put a stamp on it.  But I feel powerfully in my heart that you can each receive the peace that our father desires as you soften your hearts and seek to feel.  At the end of Sacrament meeting I was feeling very much at peace when something that was sort of a tender mercy to me happened.  There is a young girl in the fairview ward that has down syndrome.  Her name is Lilly.  She is six and has an absolutely pure spirit.  At the end of the meeting she walked up to me going around people pointing to me, she came up to me and just held my hands, then she gave me a hug and walked away.  It was incredible, but I didn't realize till after that that was a tender mercy of our Father in Heaven.  He simply was reminding me that I am a daugher of god.  He sent me a hug from one of the purest spirits he could.   I am overwhelmed with love for my Savior.

Me and Lily:) I love her!

Another Bellevue Sunset. Miracles happen every day, never forget that!

I hope that this somehow made sense,  I just felt like it was a sweet experience I should share.  I am so grateful that we have one another to grow from and learn from.  I love each one of you with all of my heart.  I know that our Savior loves each one of you as well..  I hope you all feel the most powerful gift that this world can offer, the gift of peace.  Pray for peace wherever you may be celebrating Christmas this year. I hope you know that I pray for each of you as well, I know that we are so blessed by our loving Heavenly Father and I pray you all have an enjoyable week preparing for the Holidays!  I love you all to the moon and space and back!
Sister McMaster  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Well HI!
How's it going out there in Utah??  From the Christmas devotional it seems there is no snow in Utah yet... that true??  Well we have snow here!  My toes are froze and my nose is cold!  :)   But I still love it here!

It has been quite the week. I've been studying a lot about repentance and the atonement.  Such powerful and necessary topics to understand.  I read the talk from Priesthood session by Elder Uchdorf and loved it!  How powerful is that statement?  "You can get up now!"  It is amazing how the words of the leaders of the church fit perfectly with the struggles we are each facing.   There is a family we are working with that hasn't come to church in a while and this was exactly the advice they need!  The Mom, Ann is so sweet!  She just feels like she isn't worthy to come back, we bore testimony to her that she can get up now!  I know she's fighting it but I also know that Heavenly Father won't give up on her.  It's such an incredible feeling to know that he will never give up on his children. As a missionary we feel that love so powerfully for the people we teach, he loves us so so much.  I hope you all feel that, it is one of the most powerful feelings I think we will ever feel. I am so grateful to have such an incredible family like you that I could learn how to love powerfully from.
So I have felt the need to "get up"  in this area,  the week Sister Call left we had quite the falling of investigators, poor Sister Youngberg came to a nearly empty teaching pool!  But change happens for reasons we may not understand and I know Heavenly Father has great plans for our area.  Within the last week we recieved 4 referrals from church head quarters!  That's crazy especially for our tiny little ward!  It's incredible because it means someone else has planted a seed, and we literally get to go harvsest what they have planted.   We have contacted most of the referrals and are very excited to start teaching some of these people.  But I wanted to thank you for your prayers!  You must have all been praying hard this week because I have felt so empowered to keep my head up high and recognize the miracles that are begining to occur.  Elder Uchdorf's words are so true, we can get up now.   We are strong enough to rely on the Savior, because he will never abandon us.  He will always be close enough to help us up.  I find so much comfort from that :) 

Well I love you so much sweet family! I am so very grateful for you.  I am absolutely loving being a missionary.  We have a goal of contacting 10 new people every single day!  It's so hard!  But we contacted 15 people yesterday because we were just talking to everyone!  It was the best.  You should all be contacting 1 new person everyday if you can, try it!    It is such a enjoyable job seeing people's lives change as they come closer to Christ.  I feel so overwhelmingly blessed.  I hope you all enjoyed St. Nicholas day!  Sister Zachary and Brother Zachary are the greatest, you'll love them when you meet them some day, they let us help decorate and even bought me my own ornament that I got to put my name on! They are so fantastic. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week!  Stay warm and stay happy and share the gospel, there are seeds to be planted! 
Love Always,
Sister McMaster

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy December!

Hello Family Dear! 
Isn't time just flying by like crazy?!  Wasn't yesterday October?  Good to hear you all were well fed on thanksgiving!   It was a Thanksgiving to remember here in Nebraska.  Sister Call and I knew it was the day president would call if we were to be transfered so we were rather anxious.  At about 10 we decided he wouldn't call and were celebrating that we'd be together for another transfer and for christmas and such..... when we go a text from the Zone Leaders.... And BAM!  Sister Call got sent to Kearney!  Like 4 hours west of civilization!  So I have a new companion who came from Kearney!  Her name is Sister Youngberg and I already love her to death because she's incredible.   I am really excited to work with her.   It was hard leaving Sister Call again.  I thought it would be easier the 2nd time around but nope it was hard still, too bad I just love people too much that I hate leaving them.  

So the mission is exploding with missionaries!  They opened 10 new areas for sisters!  So Sister Youngberg and I are now over 8 companionships!  It's so many sisters!  And one of them is the Pioneer Sisters (so Sister Schrader!)  Cool right?  We'll get to go on exchanges in my old area, which will be super weird.  
So I am so happy right now, I think spending a holiday remembering what we're grateful for is rejuvinating.  Do you all feel that way?   Yesterday was such a lovely day at church.  I have a funny story too!  We had a less active gentleman show up that we had found a few weeks ago.  He's a very sweet very talkative man named Brother Ottis.  I was excited because he hasn't been to church in probably a year or so and he was so surprised we found him.   But he decidied he'd go up and bear his teastimony and he told the ward that he lived in a very high security apartment complex and that one day he hears a knock on the door only to find two sisters standing outside his appartment.  He told the ward "I have no idea how Sister McMaster got in there but I'm grateful that she did"  After that the whole ward was asking me what kind of criminal moves I performed for the sake of the work or the Lord.  My favorite response was the fantastic Sister Gardner who was convinced that Sister Call and I scaled the walls of appartments to find less actives.  Truth of the matter is I don't really know how we got into his building.  But the Lord knows where his sheep are and he knows how to find them.   Fun miracle, even though I will never be able to live down being a criminal missionary. 
So since I've been with Sister Youngberg the last couple days I've been humbled at how well heavenly father knows his children.  I was convinced that I didn't need a change, and yet I am so grateful for the changes that have begun since having a new companion.  It has been amazing to see that the Lord refines us and tweaks us this way and that way to help us become the people he knows we can be.   I am so grateful that he cares enough about me to be with me every step of the way in progressing.  Have you been able to recognize his hand in helping you personally progress in the last couple months?  It's always amazing the miracles that are happening, sometimes without us even noticing.  
So Sister Youngberg and I are praying for a White Christmas.  Meaning we have a Baptism,  this will be a miracle because we have had a very slim teaching pool the past few weeks (we've had investigators dropping us like flies :( )   But I want to tell you this now so that when I inform you of the prepared person that we find you'll see how incredible the miracle is.   Thank you ever so much for your prayers and your support.  You really have no idea how incredible it is to have a foundation of an incredible family at home.    I love you all so much.  I pray that you all have a fantastic week.  I hope that you feel the love of our Savior everyday this holiday season.  I hope you show your gratitude for him every morning you wake up.  Keep smiling and sharing your love with those around you. 
Love you all to the moon and space!  ( I know it doesn't makes sense Tommyface... but i like the sound of it)
Sister McMaster

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

How are you all doing!?  Getting ready for Thanksgiving??  I have been so thrilled to be a missionary during this time of remembering all that we need to be grateful for. 
I am somewhat at a loss of things to write about (probably because I should never go to the computers on an empty stomach) but do not worry, as they always and forever will, miracles have happened.  
Sister Call and I have been working on being EXACTLY obedient.  It's hard!  We do our very best to be where we are supposed to be at all the right times and more often then not we see miracles happen when we do this.   We had a day that we had planned less then we should have and were sort of beating ourselves up when we had a thought to go talk to a man we had briefly met a few weeks back, his name is Don.  He was home and was so sweet, he seems very lonely.  His wife passed away a few months ago and  we can see how the gospel would bless his life.    We talked to him and set up a time when we can teach him more about the Book of Mormon, we were feeling really good thinking we found our miracle for the hour, when we walked out the door of the appartment complex and held the door open to a freezing woman (did I mention it's freezing here?  oh yeah it is.)  She was scurrying in when she looked at us and said "What ward do you go to?" we told her, and asked her what ward she attended.  She told us she had moved a few months ago from Arizona and hadn't been able to go to church yet.  So we very lovingly invited her and were thrilled that she showed up on Sunday!  Coincidence?  I think not.  It was cool that Heavenly Father helped us be in  a place that we would run into her.
We also had a really cool experience with a golden investigator!  You've been waiting for this right?  His name is Josh and he went on and found the bishop's phone number, called him and said "What do  I need to wear to attend your services?"  Sweet right!?  We had a lesson with him last week and it was awesome.  He is so prepared to change and to progress.  It is amazing to realize that there are people out there like Josh.  Only downside of this story is that our Area is so small that he doesn't live in our ward boundaries, So we had to transfer him over to the Elders in the other ward. We have a tendency of finding fabulous investigators for other missionaries.   Still working on maintaining our own. 
Well, I want you all to know how grateful I am for each one of you.  Especially during Thanksgiving I hope you all take a good moment to remember your Savior.  Remember to be grateful to him.   I have loved to be a missionary because I get to dedicate every waking moment to his service.  I love getting to know him better and feeling his love more powerfully each day.  I have also learned to have more faith as I pray.   Praying intently is an incredible thing to do.  I was studying the story in Mosiah 24 about the people of Alma that were in bondage.  They had such great faith that they prayed with all of their hearts.  They had no doubts that the Lord would provide a way for them.  They never doubted the power of prayer.   The best part is that they were right on target.  Heavenly Father was so aware of their needs, he knew exactly that they were suffering and struggling and he eased their burdens, and helped them to feel comforted.  How often do we each need that comfort and yet we forget to pray with all of our heart?   I have met a fair amount of people that fight getting help from the Lord.  How often is that my own struggle?   Do we realize that there isn't anything that he doesn't understand?    I have been thinking a lot about this lately.   Prayer is our connection to our dear Father in Heaven, and we have the opportunity to speak to him through a gracious Savior.  Do we show enough gratitude for this? 
I know that I could demonstrate more gratitude to my Savior.   My commitment to you lovely family is that you go out of your way to show gratitude to your Savior.  Don't doubt or underestimate your actions.  He knows your hearts and he will shower you with blessings as you do so.  I hope you all know that I love you all so dearly, I am so grateful to be a member of the Church, I am so grateful to have the Book of Mormon,  I know that it is a miracle that it is available to us today!  What a beautiful plan this is. 
Have a Terrific week!  Eats lots of Turkey, don't worry we're being fed twice so we'll be feeling fat and happy just as you all will be I hope :)    Love you!
Sister McMaster

Monday, November 18, 2013

Long time no talk!

Has it been forever?  Yup it sure feels like it!  Man have the past two weeks been crazy!   Ever heard of exchanges?  They make you crazy!  Actually they're just a little bit spiritually exhausting.  So last monday the libraries were closed then tuesday we had an exchange so we couldn't use computers then, then on wednesday we had a Zone Training that lasted forever... and then we had a million appointments thursday then another exchange Friday... and bam it was mondayagain... So here I am!  
So time is mega short today because all of you wrote me novels that I loved :)  I really love all of you so much and I really appreciate all the lovely messages you send me and I wish I had more time to individually respond to each of you.  Alas you all will just need to be satisfied with this one boring e-mail.
So Thanksgiving coming up makes everyone happier, Mom you are so right, I love that the spirit of Gratitude really touches peoples hearts no matter what faith they might be. 
I just want to share one quick experience from this week: We went up to Red Oak, Iowa for a day  and it was crazy!  It was literally like hick town hillbilly land.... Haha  I was with Sister Checketts for a day which was fun because we were in the same MTC district, so we're like family!  We went with a member to a little baby sized town (probably like organic lime sized but less cute then the gummie bear Nat and Tan have)  called Hamburg..... said like Ham-Burg... not said with any fancy german accent or anything... but they literally have nothing there... one gas station... not even any hamburgers!  But we were hunting down a member that Sister Checketts had never met and we went to the first address and the man was angry and told us she now lived 8 blocks this way and 2 that way... so we went to find that house and had no luck so we just started asking people on the street if they knew this lady... and like 60% of the time they knew her or a relative or something.  It was really funny I just couldn't help but laugh out loud as we were treasure hunting for people in Hamburg Iowa.     What did I learn from this you are probably asking?   Good question really, but I did learn that the gospel changes people's lives, it honestly makes them so happy.  It is incredible to see this light fill their lives.  The Lord works in mysterious ways and he will never give up on us.   He will send missionaries to hunt you down in crazy little towns because he loves each one of his children so perfectly. 

I love this gospel.  And I love each of you!   Thanks for you support, keep being incredible! 
Love you to the moon and space!
Sister McMaster

Monday, November 4, 2013

Afternoon from Bellevue!

Hello Family of Mine!

So it was a really fantastic week, full of miracles as the best of weeks are.  I love the people here, I was worried I wouldn't love them but I really do.  They are fantastic and very sweet. Just this afternoon we got to help a lady can apples!  It was a lot of fun making applesauce and such, that's why I'm e-mailing so late, because she really needed some hands, so we volunteered :)   
So Sister Call and I had to give a training this week, yikes! It was awful actually, let's be real I won't lie to you and say it was amazing because well it wasn't! haha.   I didn't realize how big zone conference was!  then when we were in the gym with 60 other missionaries and President Weston was turning the time over to sister call and I, I was like.... YIKeS!    Unfortunately it was after lunch and all the missionaries were sleepy and tired and me jumping up and down trying to excite them only makes me look awkward but it was okay.  Sister Call doesn't think we'll ever be asked to train again which I am okay with! :)
We also had a surprise temple trip this week which was fabulous.  I love going to the temple, such a blessing to have temples so close to home.  We are so blessed.  I know that it was a tender mercy that we got to go to the temple.  It is so cool to be reminded of our important purpose on this earth to return to live with our father in heaven.  That was something I needed to be reminded of.  It has been interesting having stewardship over sisters and trying to help them, and going on exchanges with them.  I really love it.  Heavenly father loves to remind me to stop thinking about myself and serve someone else.  That's a lesson I am sure I will continue to learn throughout life.  
So we have an investigator named Lynn, she's fantastic.  We took her to the trail center this week which is always a very powerful experience.  She is a funny lady though, she likes to ask all kinds of questions about everything.  It has really helped me realize the value of the Book of Mormon.  It is evidence that all of these things are true.  When you know that it is the word of God then you don't have to question everything else.  Everything just falls into place.  I am so grateful that the Book of Mormon is something our family has always read and valued.  I love remembering reading it when we were little at the breakfast table.  I remember being so tempted to simply read the cereal box in front of me and tune out dad reading, but things stood out to me then.  I remember him saying "give ear..." and thinking that was funny.... you know little things like that.  But really never underestimate the power of opening the Book of Mormon.  It invites the spirit like nothing else.  Whatever challenges you might have remember that the Book of Mormon will be the best peace you can ever ask for. 
I am so grateful for you family!  I can't even tell you how much I love you but you are all so fantastic!  Are you thinking of things you are grateful for?  I hope so I love that November is a month to remember what we're grateful for.  What blessings are you seeing in life each day??  Tell me about your miracles!  Mine are getting boring I fear... I'll work on sprucing up these e-mails sorry to bore you.
Love you All!  Keep choosing the right!
Love Always,
Sister McMaster 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Leaves are Falling All Around

Hello Hello!
How's it going family!?   I loved the pictures of everyone's halloween costumes!  Such fantastic creativity!  I've very impressed, this year for Halloween I'm going to be a sister missionary.... lame right?  Actually Sister Call and I had pioneer costumes at our ward trunk or treat, so we were little pioneer children missionaries.   Be jealous, it was a good costume.  
how sister missionaries carve pumpkins :)

So this area is quite interesting, different than my last, but I like it!  Already we've seen a whole bunch of miracles!  It started off a little rough however with an evil cold that tried to get me, not to worry I'm fighting it off.. 
We have a new investigator!  And she's amazing!  Her name is Brooke and she is very sweet and very excited about learning the gospel.  We had a powerful lesson with her and her best friend that's in the ward, it was so cool to see how much she trusts her friend.  That's how missionary needs to be, we need to share it with our friends.  It was so awesome she texted us after our lesson and told us about how she was starting to read to book of mormon.   I just love her.    So that's exciting.   
My favorite miracle moment of the week however was just classic:  We were walking to our car after an appointment (our ride abandoned us kinda so we had like a long way to walk to our car)  And a man was sitting outside fixing the breaks on his car, he actually is a member of the ward but he hasn't been to church in a while.  Anyway we started talking to him and inviting him the trunk or treat and he just said he had a lot he needed to do, like rake the leaves and stuff.  And we nearly died because we have wanted so badly to rake someone's leaves!  (Well I really wanted to... haha)   And he was like sure, go for it!   I'm not kidding you there was like leaves 3 or 4 inches deep on his lawn, so we made like the biggest pile ever.  Then it got exciting because the neighborhood children wanted to come jump in our leaves with us, haha so we of course invited them to join and we met all kinds of people just because we wanted to jump in the leaves.   So moral of the miracle, don't underestimate the little things in life, stop to rake someone's leaves, or whatever it is you might not normally do.  Just stop and meet someone!  That's what being a missionary is, loving the people that are around you.  And when you do this heavenly father blesses you with what ever simple pleasures you need.  He is so good to his children. 


I'm grateful to be a missionary in Bellvue at this time!  heavenly father puts us in places for a reason, we are all called to be on this earth right now in this day and age, so ask youself, are you fulfilling your purpose on the earth? Do you know why you're here?  Do you remember how much heavenly father trusted you when he sent you to this earth?  Do you remember who you are!?  That's something I'm learning and I'd encourage you all to ask yourself that and see if you feel how empowering it is to know without a doubt who you are.  I know that I love you all very much and am so grateful for you!  You are amazing.   I'm so gratful that I was blessed to come into this world with such cool people.   Have an amazing week okay??
To answer some of your questions:  Dad I haven't gotten your letter if you sent it to Lincoln I  don't know how long it will be before it gets forwarded to where I am now because they have to send it to the mission home and then to Bellvue... complicated I know.... Thanks for writing me though!  I appreciate letters and I'm doing my best to reply... I'm sending out postcards today... maybe hoping I get around to it :)
Thomas:  I love you so much... your letters are winning the award for coolest letters so far...  you're right loving you to the moon and space makes absolutely no sense.  Sometimes my brain doesn't work.  Oh and my car accident was super pathetic, didn't I tell you that?   the only damage was that the other car's license plate was like indented into the bumper of our car... cool right! 
So family I love you from this earth to the moon and across the galaxy to pluto the subplanet whatever, and back! 
Love always,
Sister McMaster

Monday, October 21, 2013

Good Morning from Omaha!

Hello there!  Guess what transfers happened and my whole world flipped upside down.  As expected from being a missionary.  It is fantastic.  I fasted for peace with this next transfer because I had a difficult time last transfer, you'll never believe what has happened.  It's just so unheard of!   Haha ready for it??   So president called last monday night and was talking to sister schrader, he told her she was going to train, and stay in pioneer, my heart thumped... because I knew I would be leaving the Katz, and Sister Schrader and the Pioneer ward and everything... I was shaking a little bit when she handed me the phone.   Then president asked me if I would be willing to serve as a Sister Trainer Leader... Yikes! I accepted, then he told me who my companion is.... you will never believe it family.   Sister Call!  I freaked out!    I never thought we'd possibly be companions again, let alone so soon.   I kinda feel like heavenly father just gave me a big huge glazed donut or something.  Just like a special feeling.  He knows how much I love her and I'm thrilled to work with her again.  
It was more exciting though,  we were put in a Trio or as we called it a tripanionship of power.  Because Sister Call's companion Sister Moore was a visa waiter, and her visa came!   She's leaving for Brazil as we speak! (Recife mission for those of you who know brazil...) This last week we got to run around the ward meeting people for me and saying good bye for her and learning portuguese in our spare time.( I can say that I'm a missionary... and I know the book of mormon is true... that's all!)   haha  I will miss teaching the deaf in pioneer, but I know that the Lord needs me here. 
So now I live with a new family, The Zachary's.  So far I like them and I like the Fairview ward.  (Oh I now live in Bellevue Nebraska)   Today I will finally get to settle all my stuff in and maybe it will seem like I live there.   Something that is cool about being a sister leader is we will get to go on exchanges every week.  I'm a little nervous but I trust that heavenly father knows what he is doing!  
This area is so much smaller than Pioneer, it is crazy!  It won't take nearly as long to learn how to navigate.  It's weird for a ward to have such small boundaries out here but it is cool!  We have a lot of work.  A girl at church yesterday introduced us to her friend that wants to learn about the church. We were so excited!  (can you imagine teaching a person that has so much support and desire?!)  I think that will be incredible. 
Well family, I hope you know  that the work is incredible out here.  Mom talked about some of the things she learned in the Jensen's ward about being a missionary.  It is so true!  Being a missionary isn't that hard,  you just share who you are by being a good friend.  That's all!   The lord knows what he is doing,  I hope all of you are happy and healthy!  Jordan said the bobbing for donuts at grandma's went well, said he learned a new tactic.   I hope you guys can send me some pictures!     Love you to the Moon and Space!  Keep Choosing the right and keep being incredible! 

Sister McMaster

Saying good bye to my Sister Schrader!

Sister Moore!  Off to Brazil!

Awkward picture of us hugging our "mom"  Yay for having a sister in the mission!  Off to RECIFE!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Autumn Time!

Hello family! 
How are all of you feeling this week??  Are you loving the changing leaves and the fall temperatures?? I sure am!  Yesterday we took an investigator to the Trail Center in Omaha, and the drive there was incredible!  I love it when the leaves are yellow and red, I finally figured out how to print pictures so I'll be sending home postcardish things (to any of you people in the world that haven't written me you won't get one because I won't have your address... so write me a letter :))    So change is just the greatest right??  Transfers happen tomorrow!  Can you believe it?  I've made it through another transfer... so weird!  I'm really  not sure if I'll stay here or go but I'm praying that I will have peace with the changes that may come.
So this week was a good one! We taught the lesson in sign language, and fortunately had an interpreter come help us.  It was quite a blessing.  The man's name is Shane, and he's a tease! He's like 6'5"  and huge...  and he tells me that I'm bad at signing and need to buy an ASL book.  What a punk!  You try to learn to pray in sign language in 8 weeks...  Just kidding.  It's actually just funny because Deaf people are ridiculously blunt, they are also ridiculously patient and they love to tease, I love working with these people.    And guess what miracle happened??  Shane came to church!  That was the first investigator I've ever had come to church.  I was shocked!! Then another miracle, the interpreter was a brother, which is rare, but he was able to go to priesthood with  him.   Yup it was a really good Sunday!  I played the Organ again which is always just a party... Don't tell but I just stopped playing the pedals... It's very hard to sight read pedals my brain just couldn't do it yesterday.  
Hmm other things that happened..  I got in a car accident sort of... that was dumb.  I got rear ended while on an exchange so I was driving. Hopefully that doesn't mean that I can't drive anymore... I don't think it will.  It was super minor and the other car just barely scratched the bumper.   But I had to follow procedure and call the police.  And then I had to like tell people my first name... it was weird to be called Catherine, I wanted to tell the lady my name is Sister.   Anyway everything was okay and it was kind of a weird flash back to the night that the Christmas car became christmasy.  Did that car live?  I never heard the story of it's life.
So I wanted to leave you with a happy thought but the timer is running out and freaking out at me, it's somewhat stressful.     I just glanced through my notes to find a conference quote:  Remember this week to not loos your way or become lost, do not be unwilling to endure to the end. Press forward and continue to hold fast! (Kevin S Hamilton)  I love you family!  I  hope you all have an awesome week!  Keep smileing and enduring to the end!  Love you!
Love always,
Sister McMaster
Sorry I don't have time for pictures :( I'll send lots next week :)!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

General Conference!

Good Morning Family!
How are you all doing??  Did you love conference!  Mom sent me some pictures and it looks like the St. George Marathon tradition is holding strong!  Good to hear you made it to the finish again dad!  Congratulations! How many times is that now?? Maybe we should make a family goal of all running it some day.  That'd be awesome right?? (Tanner don't you shake your head... you know you'd love it :))  Cool stuff!  Isn't conference just the best?  It went by way too fast... I was just soaking it up like a sponge.  All of the talks were very powerful didn't you think?    You should tell me which ones were your favorites!   I don't know how to pick favorites but I especially loved President Monson's talk from Sunday Morning.  He's so awesome.  I loved the story that he told about the man that knew he needed Tommy Monson to help him and he knew that he would know exactly what he needed.  I couldn't help but think about our Tommy McMaster... I hope you're being in tune with the spirit always Thomas!  But it was really just what I needed to hear about being patient and enduring to the end.   I loved the poem and I wish I could quote it perfectly but this is what I wrote in my notes "Good timber does not grow with ease, the more the storm the more the strength"   We can have eternal peace but we must be patient, we must recognize that not matter where we are in the storm we can turn to our savior.  I'm so grateful for that!
The work here in Pioneer is interesting!  We are praying to find more prepared people.  A lot of the people we are teaching are not having a lot of progress but we keep praying for them and hoping that they will feel how important the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is.  It is such an important thing to come closer to Christ.  I pray all of you recognize the importance in each of your lives.   Ha ha wow family just had a miracle happen while sitting at the computer... remember how one second ago I was talking about how I need to be patient to find prepared people?  Don't even worry about it a lady  just walked up to us and told us she wants us to come to her house and talk with her and her boyfriend.  To make it more exciting she is deaf so we were communicating entirely in sign language.  Why didn't I ever take ASL?  Ah well it was a sweet experience and the prepared people come to us when we are prepared.  We are getting a lot better at signing but we have a long way to go!   Yay I'm so bubbly now, she understood what I was talking about!  So Pray for Marie, the women I met 5 seconds ago, maybe we will see miracles happen with her! 

I love this gospel so much.  I am so excited to see more miracles happen this week!  We will be teaching Gum this week, he is so funny he tells us that the gospel is too good to be true... but we will help him see that it isn't too good to be true... it just is true!  We are transitioning him over to the University elders so he can go to the single's ward.  It's kind of sad, but we have to do what's best for each investigator.   The Pioneer Elders are like on fire.. they had a baptism on Saturday and they have one next week too!  Funny how the people we share an area with are just raking in prepared people.  We're praying that we can have similar success as we continue to be prayerful and faithful and obedient.   I love being a missionary.  I love being in Nebraska, and I love all of you!  Sorry this e-mail is short ish but that lesson with the lady in sign language just took up some time.  Tender Mercies of our heavenly father are so beautiful.   Stay strong!  Choose the Right and study conference!  I expect lots of messages about your favorites :)
Love you Lots!
Love Always,
Sister McMaster

NBD fam... I still do ballet when I can :)

new gloves from Mom! yay!

Celebrating Sister Schrader's birthday with the Katz, such a good day!!

Mustaches and Tractors= best birthday celebrations ever! :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall in Lincoln!

Good Morning Sweet Family!

How are you all doing this fine day??  Are you loving the sunshine as much as I am??  I hope so!  Fall in Nebraska is incredible, the corn is all yellow now and being harvested, the days are fantastically cool and sunshiney and it is amazing.  I am falling in love with this place, someday you all need to come here because It is awesome! 

So this week was a good one, and then we had the Relief Society broadcast and it was like a cherry on top!   Sister Schrader and I are working with so many Less Actives, that is our goal to find all of these lost sheep.  We see miracles happen as people's lives begin to change!  Have I told you about the sweet lady we're working with named Deanna?  She has made so much progress in coming back to church!  She is the best, she has a huge dog named Tonka.  I met her when I was Sister Call, so it's been a few months of seeing her each week, but  I know she is making more efforts to read the Book of Mormon, and she has been coming to church again and it is like the change of the seasons, she is changing colors like the leaves on the trees, she is becoming warm and sunshiney.  I love her so much.  I love all the people here actually.  It was cool to be at the Broadcast on Saturday night and to feel so much love for the people of this ward.  I didn't know that you could love people so much!  Only a few months ago they were like complete strangers and here I am loving them so much and praying for them and hoping that they will  continue to seek happiness. 

This morning in my studying I read a talk by President Monson about having Joy in the Journey.  It was so inspiring. I think that is why I'm so happy right now!  I was reminded of something I learned in the MTC, that you have to have favorite things to remind you to be grateful everyday!   Did I ever tell you I have a favorite light switch?  At the Katz house there is a switch at the top of the stars that has a painted cat thing... I'll send a picture... haha And it is my favorite light switch.  Every time I see it I am reminded to be grateful for such a wonderful home to live in with sweet members that take such good care of me.  Brother Katz bought a keyboard from good will a few weeks ago because he knows how much I love the piano, it was the sweetest thing ever.   He is so sweet to us.  And Sister Katz has been coming with us to find people!  It's been awesome, she speaks Spanish so she helps us when we run into people that don't speak English. (did I tell you I tried to speak Spanish to someone? haha I told them who I was in Spanish (I forgot to say "Saint" so I was just a missionary from the church of Jesus Christ of Later Day...)  Then I tried to tell her about the book of Mormon... wow I know zero Spanish...  I tried to say well here take this book... and then I realized it was in English anyway so it was not even of any value to her... yup it was a complete fail.   Sister Schrader and I like died of laughter after that... haha the lord recognizes our efforts I hope no matter how pathetic they may be :))

I wish I had more time to write but it runs out fast here at the Lincoln library (I got a new library card today! yay)  But remember to have joy in the journey.  Remember that everyday is a good day if you let it be, remember that everyday is a gift, it is an opportunity to smile and share your happiness with the world.  I hope you know family that I am savoring my time as a missionary, so savor your time doing whatever you are doing.  Don't ever endure life... we must enjoy it :)  ENJOY TO THE END!   

I love you all so very much!  Keep Choosing the right!!

Love Always,

Sister McMaster

Monday, September 23, 2013

Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Hello family! 
haha.  That song is stuck in my  head this morning as I stare at the keyboard thinking of some inspiring thing to write... Hahaha Natalie keeps telling me I'm changing peoples lives or something via a blog that I have never seen.. so now I am getting like stage fright... ... Do you tie 'em in a knot? do you tie 'em in a bow?  What does that song even mean. Does anyone even know?? 
So anyway.  I have had quite a week.  I love being a missionary.  I am catching the vision of what it means to put your whole heart into the work and I am loving it.   Sister Schrader and I have a different relationship than Sister Call and I had, but who ever said different was a bad thing?   I love that God knows each of his children and he knows exactly what they need at exactly the right moments in their lives. 

I love Sister Schrader!


Doing our nails with awesome members in Pioneer ward! (my companion is obsessed with mustaches..)

I was thinking last night about how I have been prepared to be a missionary.  I remembered a moment way back years ago when I was a wee 15 year old going to an apartment complex with my lovely friend Claiborne (who should write me a letter about her child that she now has even though she's busy...)  and going to the members that lived there and asking them to help  with the YW fundraiser.  I remember feeling scared out of my mind to knock on people's doors, yet we did it because we were asked to.  And people ended up being reasonably nice and what not, actually I maybe don't even remember how they reacted.   But then again years later I got to go on visits to people in the ward with the Relief Society president and how that wasn't as scary, but it was a growing experience.  I remember being with the lovely Jessica Page, to one of the first doors we went to after having prayed, and no one answered.  Yet standing their on the porch I felt so powerfully that Heavenly Father was grateful for my efforts.  He knew that I was doing my best to do his work and he was grateful for my efforts.  Now as a missionary I am doing the same thing that I did when I was 15, yet now I have learned to rely on the lord.  I have learned that when you have faith that a door will open, it often times does.  Haha reminds me of when we say family prayer and I always think really hard(exercising my faith) that Dad will call on Sarah... and he does.  haha Sorry Soap.   
So sorry for that random tangent.  Basically It is amazing to me how divinely laid out the plan of our father in heaven is.  I was reading in 1 Nephi 14 this morning and it prophecies about the world and how it is being constantly prepared for the coming of the lord.  In the same way the lord is constantly preparing us.  We are being prepared for something beyond what we can imagine.  As I realize that little moments in my life were preparing me for a mission I can only imagine what things in life a mission is preparing me for in the future. 
So just as heavenly father has prepared me to be here, he has also prepared people here to meet me, or any missionary really.  Yesterday we met a woman who is on the rolls but no one seems to know anything about her.  We found her humble home using sister Schrader's GPS (she has one!?!)  I was so tired and didn't want to think so we GPSed it.   But we met her and she looked so sad and lonely.  She needs to be reminded of the happiness she once had in life.  She is a lost sheep. We shared some scriptures with her and prayed with her (It is amazing how the spirit guides your words when you pray for people, so powerful)   I know that we didn't necessarily change her life yesterday, but I know heavenly father wanted us to find her.  He wanted her to know that she was remembered.  I pray that we will be able to work with her (Susan)  and help her come back to the fold. 
Missionary work is the best.  Keep being examples and loving those around you.  I love you family, I love all that you each have taught me just from being you.   I know you have each influenced me and helped me to be prepared to be where I am today.  I hope that as you go about your days that you walk with faith!  Don't let you ears hang low, walk tall and be believing.  (we could probably count that as today's miracle that I found some way to tie that into the gospel)    Love you all so much! Keep sending letters because I love getting them! Be patient with me though I hope to write back to all of you and it could take time because I seem to be long winded when I write... Sorry bout that!
Oh request!  Sister Schrader's birthday is on October 3, so really soon!  It would be really cool if you wanted to send her things like Balloons... or CD's... I have all those awesome CD's from Nat and Tan and would love to give some to her.  Or if you want to send random things like a Boa... actually I don't know you don't have to I will probably just make her a card... I've always been kind of a freak about birthdays.  Haha The Katz want to take her to a crazy Sushi restaurant so hopefully we don't die from eating sushi.   Are you all going to St. George for conference? I was remembering that that's what we do... haha I am so beyond excited for Conference and for  the RS Broadcast.  I hope you all take advantage of hearing that! 
Well again I love you all dearly!  Be safe and keep choosing the right! 
Love always,
Sister McMaster


I learned how to do the magic trick "cups and balls" thanks to Brother Katz.... Some day I will wow all of you with my talent... haha

Me and sister Katz

The crazy Lion cat we saw during an appointment... I was like dying not to laugh... haha who tortures their animals like this!??

 I love my companion:)

   Sometimes we are crazy! Yay!