Monday, July 29, 2013

Lincoln, Nebraska

Hello dearest family!
How I love all of you!  I cannot believe that I have been gone for almost a month and yet this is only my 2nd preparation day!  Weird.  So let me see if I can update you on my life...
Flying was great, I met some really sweet people on the Airplane!  I think Heavenly father was like playing a joke on me... I sat next to an elderly gentleman on both flights and had almost literally the exact same conversation.. like these men almost had the same lives.  It was pretty cool.  The one on my flight to Omaha was from Norway so I thought a lot about Amy. I wish I could have remembered where she is serving right now. But he was really sweet and shared some licorice candy with me.  He told me that the rolling hills of Council bluffs can be my mountains.  He wasn't very interested in the gospel but he wished me luck and was very kind.  I do hope that some day I run into him.  The last thing I told him was that he needed to name his cat.  That was the commitment I left him, so I will have to follow up! (he has a cat with no name!)  So I'm learning how to be a missionary.. I'm not very good at it yet but the lord is here to help.
So we stayed at a hotel in Omaha for 2 nights before we got sent to our areas. We all met at the President's house to open up our letters! It was kinda stressful to stand in front of everyone to announce your new area... mostly because most of us had no idea where any of the areas were anyway so who really knows how to respond?  So I opened my letter and read that my trainer would be Sister Call, and We would be opening a new sisters area in the Lincoln North Zone.  Yippee! Guess what guys... I had NO idea what I was getting into.  My trainer has been out for 3 months so we both have a lot to learn.  I love listening to her, she is an excellent teacher and missionary.  I hope I can become something like her.   Heavenly father must have some plan for us because this is an interesting situation. 
We are sharing an area with the elders so we have to work through our Ward Mission Leader so we don't conflict schedules and such.  Wow... I don't know if any of this makes sense... let me just tell you what I've done the past couple days:
  • Decorated for a wedding
  • Met a whole lot of new people
  • Learned how to navigate Lincoln Nebraska with nothing but a road map... (YIKES!)
Yeah that was my cool accomplishment... haha  be gratefull for your map aps... but seriously Maps aren't that complicated. I've been so proud of myself! But really if anyone desires to send me a GPS for Christmas I wouldn't be offended.
We have a lot of work to do.  We currently don't have a teaching pool so it's hard to fill our schedule.  We mostly have been going to visit less active families.  The work really is changing a lot because President Weston doesn't want us to be finding people he wants us to be teaching referrals from the members. 
This ward really is on fire though, they are ready for mission work, The bishop is so awesome and is so supportive of the missionaries.  We bore our testimonies in Sacrament meeting yesterday... just on a whim because the bishop invited us to.   That was a little bit stressful, but I stayed surprisingly calm. 
It's been interesting working with the Elders... They've been here for a while and we're kind of stomping in their territory so we have to try to play nicely. They're working on remembering that this is the lord's work and we're not there to "steal" their investigators.  We're simply all there to be what the lord needs us to be.
Oh so we are living in a member's family which is fun! We live in the basement of the Katz.  haha Brother Katz's first name is Bob... so he is Bob Katz... Cool right?  They are such a sweet family!  Grandma and Grandpa were asking about some of the ancestry of the people here. I don't know much about people here as a whole but the Katz are from California... Sister Katz is from El Salvador and she was a convert when she was in her 20's I believe.  Brother Katz was also a convert when he was about 20.  They're a really sweet couple.  They have stuffed cats like everywhere.  Haha Sister Katz is a preschool teacher so I feel at home with her.  She is like 4 feet tall and such a sweet heart.   It's so cool to see the sacrifices that the members make for this gospel. 
Yesterday we had desert with a family that was super funny! They decided to walk us to our car and introduce us to all of their neighbors! Talk about being a good member missionary! We have 4 referrals to follow up with just from them.  So here's your commitment:  Will you pray for missionary opportunities? I sure hope the answer is yes.  Just know that I think being a missionary is scary.  But when we build a trust with the members we can be teaching people that they love and care about and it is so much easier to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people you love.  That's what the gospel is. Learning to love like the savior loves.
I am so grateful to you family!  You really have no idea how much I need your love and prayers.  They keep me strong!  I am doing my best to write all of you back but I'm working on the lord's time here, and I have very little time to write.  Oops I also forgot my camera today... So I can't send pictures.  It is a very rainy day here and I'm quite forgeful!
Love you all soo so much! Have a fantastic  last week of July!  Happy Birthday shout out to the one and only Thomas McMaster!  Happy birthday littler brother! I love you soo much!! Have fun being 15!  It's such a good year!  Build your testimony of your  Savior, He loves you so much!  I know that you will be a really good missionary some day if you do :) 
Love you!
Sister McMaster

Thursday, July 18, 2013

1st week, Check!

Hello! Can you believe it has been an entire week since I left the world you live in? I sure can´t believe it!  I hope you are all happy and healthy!  Good to hear that Thomas is enjoying sport camp and Sarah enjoying girls camp!  Sarah! Write me a letter about your mini mission that sounds cool!  So life at the MTC is crazy, time is so different than I ever expected. Time goes by weirdly... not fast but not slow. It´s hard to describe.  Everyday is a rollercoaster you have amazing moments and than you have really hard moments.  Being a missionary doesn´t really come natural and it is something I will need to work really hard to improve.  The teachers here are incredible.  I love listening to every lesson that they give.  I love those moments when you are sitting with an investigator and trying so hard to listen to what the spirit wants you to say, and then out of the blue you remember the most basic thing that you learned in class, like ´teach about faith in Jesus Christ´  and bam that´s what the investgator needs to hear.  

My companion´s name is Sister Peterson.  She is an angel.  I love her because she has so much energy!  She turned 19 like two weeks before she got here so she makes me feel like a grandma sometimes but not usually.  Haha.  She is so sweet and is always complimentary and loving.  Her testimony is so strong! It builds me up so much.  I know that we were assigned to be together for a reason because I am learning so much from her example.  We started off struggling with teaching our investigators because we both want to dominate the conversation... So we are learning to share, which is sooooo good.  Weve taught 3 different investigators and it is such an interesting experience. You really just have to be thrown into the situation and pray that the lord will guide your words.  Sometimes investigators like try to manipulate the conversation and prevent you from sharing the message, that can be frustrating!  But as long as you carry the spirit with you and can share testimony before you leave you don´t feel like you completely failed. Thats how I feel anyway! I have so much to learn, I dont feel like I am ready for real investigators but our in field training is tomorrow! Man time is flying!
So exactly a week ago we met the Branch President of our Zone and he interviewed us all and gave us callings.  While we were waiting to be called we toured some of the MTC so we could be better oriented with where everything is and all that jazz.... So while we were walking around I was thinking... What if i get a calling, that would be stressful... you know just contemplating the idea.  But my final thought before we went back to the Branch president was, ya know... I really hope I´m a junior companion.. .that would be a good place for me. That is what I think I should be.  Funny because the Lord seems to listen to my thoughts and present his own plan for what I should be doing.  So I was called to be the Sister Training Leader.  Never heard of it?  Me either actually!  But I work with the Zone Leaders and am sort of in charge of making sure all of the sisters are happy and healthy and nothing is going wrong.  But don´t you worry, I did get my wish. Because of this call, Sister Peterson will be my Senior companion the whole time... so as I hoped I´m junior companion! Woot woot! Not that any of this really matters though.  I feel like the lord knows what I need.  I work so much better when I have the opportunity to care and think about other people.  It helps me be more productive because I know that someone else needs me to be strong.  This is what I´m learning in the MTC, I need to be more humbe. I need to truly see the lord´s hand in my life.  I hope you can all see the Lord´s hand in your lives! He´s there and loves you all so much!  I know he does, because I know how much I love you all, and can only imagine his love for each of you.

So everyday is like a spiritual present!  I learn basically that I have so much to learn!  Personal Revelation is so cool!  It is inspiration but you discover how you need to act because of it.  Our teacher is amazing, he is from South Africa and has the coolest accent in the world, he stares into your soul daily... which is fun.  But he wants us to be the most prepared missionaries possible.  I am working my hardest to be as good as he seems to think we can be.  He had us read 1 Ne. 1 and look for the revelation in that single verse.  Try it!  The fisrt verse of the Book of Mormon, read it, see what stands out to you, and ask yourself: why does this stand out to me?  and what is it telling me to do?  I promise you it is a very spritual experience to analyze your own life that way.   The Book of Mormon is a truly remarkable book.  Keep reading it family it is soooo good!

So remember, Heavenly father loves you. He has blessed us with families and friends to enrich our lives.  I love all of you so much!  Enjoy your week! Keep praying for me, Im praying for all of you!
Sister McMaster