Monday, June 30, 2014

Fish Out of Water in York.

Hello Family!  How are you all doing??

Out playing in Bear Lake I guess?  So funny story, Mom said that Powder was in Heaven, probably meaning that he was loving bear lake, I misunderstood and thought he had gone to real heaven, so I was sad this whole week missing Powder only to learn that he's just with you all in Bear Lake heaven :)  funny communication problems! but I'm glad Powder is still doing well!  

SO Transfers happened!!!!!!!!!!!  I knew I'd be leaving... I was scared out of my mind... pit of my stomach was all knotted ya know?   And off I go!  I'm now serving in York, Nebraska.  Coolest place on the planet!  I'm so excited!  My new companion is Sister Wrubell, and it's awesome because we were in the MTC together, She's been in York for as long as I was in Fairview so it's crazy that she stayed another transfer.  We are serving together as Sister Training Leaders and it is a blast.  

So here's all the cool things about this area:  it is 100% opposite from everything I have done my whole mission slash life.  We live in McCool Junction (I'm sure president couldn't resist sending Sister McMaster to McCool)  And the members we live with have like a little baby farm, they have 2 horses 3 goats, lots of chickens and geese and bees!  We live in a little baby house on their property and it's so cute!  I feel like I just jumped into Anne of Green Gables... Also we are the "York Sisters" but we are serving in the Aurora Branch.  So church is in a different town... I've never served in a branch before so this is super new too!  

Other best part, we drive a truck.  How sweet is that?  Tanner you'd be super jealous... actually all the Elders are super jealous but we live on a farm so it's ours. :)  

So yes that's what happened.  It was so bitter sweet to leave Fairview.  Those people will always have such a special place in my heart and I am so grateful that I was able to serve and love them for soooo long.  I miss them a lot.  I was feeling overwhelmed because Sister Wrubell opened this area and knows these people like the back of her hand.  She is so good at loving them, and they are working with a ton of people!  The people here are sooo nice and it amazes me how different the culture is out here in western Nebraska (I'm about 1 hour west of Lincoln.... so not tooo far west but ya know)  We are already seeing so many miracles, I feel so humbled to be in an area where the people are so missionary minded.  If all wards were this motivated to do the work that we would be living in Zion!  

This has kind of been a thought I've had recently, I need to hold on to the energy I had when I first stepped into Nebraska, where I knew so little but was so ready to run!  Being here is helping me to not let myself get burned out.  This branch is running, they are amazing.  I know this is where I'm supposed to be, I decided I will savor every minute of being here.  The sweetness of being a missionary is so irreplaceable I hope all of you can taste of that joy.  

Last little thought: Gratitude. Such a powerful thing!  I learned this week that gratitude it how we prevent ourselves from becoming prideful.  We must be grateful for the experiences we have currently been blessed with.  I am feeling very grateful this week and I would hope that each one of you has an opportunity to ponder all that you are grateful for.  Thank you all for your amazing examples to me.  

I know Heavenly Father's plan is so real, I'm so grateful to be a part of it!  Have a splendid week! I love you all!

Love Always,

Sister McMaster

Monday, June 23, 2014

Random Thoughts From Nebraska :)

Hi Family!

How are you all doing?  Busy I am guessing?  That's good!  We're super busy out here in the cornfield land of wonderfulness... the corn is about hip height which is exciting!  I love watching it grow (I'm embracing my inner nerd :))  "look at the baby corn!" is one of my favorite things to say to my companions.

So Karen got baptized on Saturday!   It was such a good day!  It was pretty insane getting to that point!  We really wanted to find a cello so Sister Youngberg could come back and play it for the baptism (because she's very talented and she loves Karen)  So we hunted up and down far and wide and then to our utter surprise the Gray's in our ward (Karen's #1 fellowshiper)  decided their daughter was going to start playing the cello so they'd get on board with that and rent her cello earlier than they were planning, so Sister Youngberg got to play a very pretty cello at Karen's baptism!  Karen was baptized by Dr. Gray (Nat and Sar I thought you'd appreciate that ;) )   and we had a lot of musical numbers and Karen wanted the whole Gray family to bear their testimony and it was really a neat baptism.  Oh! I forgot the fun part!  So we had a horrible storm on Friday night, one with the fantastic strobe light lightning and epic thunder and oddles of rain... the whole shabang, this also caused the power to go out in our church building.  So as our ward mission leader was filling up the font saturday morning he discoverd no light or AC which equals misery in Nebraska....  So we moved the baptism to Plattsmouth!  (pronounced plattsmith) it was great!  I was thinking the whole morning about how minimal the opposition has seemed to be preparing for her baptism when bam... we had to reschedule the whole event.   But all went well!  What an amazing day. I feel so blessed to be serving in the Fairview ward right now.

So I have a question I have been pondering that perhaps you can study about in your own studies,  "How does understanding the restoration allow families to access the atonement?"   Cool question right?  I have to do a training in district meeting this week on that question so I'll be pondering it more, but it has been interesting to think about.  The restoration teaches us how to use the atonement, you must  begin by knowing that god is our loving heavenly father that all things that happen are to help us come closer to him.  Second you must recognize those he has put in our lives to strengthen us, this includes our family, friends, leaders and council from the Prophet.  We learn god's will through all of these resources.  Third once we understand where we fit in the picture we must understand that sometimes we may feel we are in a great apostasy, sometimes we may feel in the dark sometimes we feel we need a restoration.  Next comes the Prophet Joseph Smith, he had the faith to pray, the faith to seek a way out of apostasy.  We too must have the faith to pray to let our Father in Heaven help us!  We must find our own personal pillar of light.  Once we do these things we must continue to act through studying the book of Mormon, this is how we continue to learn about Christ's life and continue to understand the atonement.  So there is the Restoration in a nutshell, and how it connects to the atonement.  So family do you understand the restoration? Are you letting it help you understand the atonement?  I hope so. I'm grateful for the strength each one of you are in my life.  Keep your faith strong, I know that that is one of the most important things you can ever do.  I pray you all have a save and enjoyable week!

Love you soooo much!

Sister McMaster

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburgers With a Side of Flat Tire

Hello Family!

Need I say more?  That's pretty much what happened this week.  haha (those awkward moments when you and your companion laugh hysterically in the library for no good reason)  

So Happy Father's day!  Sorry to hear no one has been sleeping this week... but Jace is worth it right?  He's just sad because his favorite Aunt is so far away (no hard feelings soap...).

Really though it has been quite a week perhaps I'll start by telling you about a very sweet miracle that happened.  So there we were on highway 2 Wednesday morning at approximately 10:04 AM Central Standard Time.... when I started praying, something bad was happening and the sound of a helicopter pulled my memories to stories told by wise sisters and cousins about the signs of a flat tire... we pulled off the road and sure as sure can be that tire was dead as a door nail. So who did we call?  The Nebraska City Sisters of course!   So there we were, four sister missionaries staring at the tire that was quite properly jacked into place ready to be removed, but our strength was nothing for those stupid bolts.  With all four of us bouncing up and down they wouldn't budge.  So Sister Beck stopped us all and asked "why haven't we prayed yet?"  We all felt silly and bowed our heads as Sister Beck prayed for the strength to remove the flat tire.  I had high expectations of seeing a miracle of a little sister missionary becoming as strong as 10 men... she put her head up and exerted her strength, but nothing happened.  Feeling a bit disappointed we sat there... when not more than 10 seconds later a kind man walked up behind the car and asked if he could help.  Withing 4 min we had our spare tire in place and were again on the road.  This was amazing!  We learned a cool lesson about miracles.  Sometimes we feel like we know what would be best, we plea for Heavenly Father to give us the strength of 10 men, but he knows that sending someone to help will be more beneficial to all parties.  How grateful I was that that gentleman stopped to help us out, and how grateful I am that prayers are answered.

I definitely have felt strengthened this week.  It has been an interesting week with exchanges and everything I am learning so much.  I wish I could tell you everything but it's hard to pull out of my brain, ultimately I know that Heavenly Father's plan is real and that he is guiding us and helping us find our way.  I know that my path right now is supposed to run through Nebraska... weird right?  But it's the best path I ever could have taken.  Karen is so excited to be baptized!  Thank you all for your prayers.  I thought it was special that her name is Karen, I know a few of those ;)  She surprises me every time we see her with how much she loves the gospel and how she can see God's hand in her life.  It inspires me to remember God's hand in my own life and I know that that has been significant.  Keep your testimonies strong my favorite people!  I know that this is so important to do.  I love you all so much!

Lastly, for Father's day we went to a member's house who is actually a widow of about 5 years.  Father's day is understandably a difficult day for her (she has 9 kids youngest is 5)  So we made her dinner!  We made Bacon Cheeseburgers.. and man were they good! (sorry humility is something I constantly work on)  then we listened to "Life's like a Football Game" (thanks Tanner!)  The little boys enjoyed it haha it was cool to invite the spirit into their home and help them remember the plan of salvation and the promise of eternal families.  

I'm so grateful for our eternal family.  I hope you all have a fantastic week full of miracles, and hopefully more sleep :)  Love you all forever!

Love Always,

Sister McMaster

Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm an Aunt!

Good Morning family!

How are you doing?  Happy and Healthy I hope?  

Life here is just hunky dory!  I love being a missionary a lot and I love all that I am learning.  This week was like a tornado of events!  And there actually was legitimately almost a tornado. It was crazy!  The lightning was like almost strobe light worthy... talk about crazyness... then there was hail that was just bigger than a quarter... like golf-ball sized... and we were in Lincoln for an exchange so we couldn't go home... we were stranded in Lincoln! (not really we were with the Katz! Who are some of my favorite people.)  It was quite an adventure and I am grateful that we survived.  (we weren't really in that great of danger but you know how I like to be dramatic)  

Karen is getting baptized! She is solid set for the 21st! We are so excited! I can't even believe how much she progressed in the last week!  She decided her Catholic boyfriend was no good and that she needs to join the church.  Crazy right?  It's funny how you pray for miracles and then they happen and you are like WOW? What just happened?  She was so funny telling us how she's already invited people from work and she is planning on sharing the gospel with her daughters and I'm still pinching myself to make sure this is real.  I love her and I can tell you that the gospel has changed her countenance.  She is growing spiritually like I've never seen a person grow.  I feel so privileged to be present to witness her conversion.  Nothing that I did has made this happen, that's the most amazing part. I was just here.  I love how Heavenly Father's plan works.  

We also had a really good Sacrament meeting this week.  I can't even express how amazing Sunday is, such an incredible time to feel the love of our Savior, and the healing power of the atonement.  Yesterday I learned that the atonement makes everything right.  Last week I was feeling like I haven't done enough with this or that... just silly worries, but I was very powerfully reminded that no matter what I do the atonement makes everything whole.  Heavenly Father will help me with what I need to do and he will make up the difference.  I hope you all can feel that strength today and not be discouraged when life gets stressful or overwhelming.  If it does, know I'm praying for you and that our Heavenly Father is so aware of all that you are doing and trying to do.  

SO then I found out I was an Aunt!  7lbs 11oz 21 inches long?  I already decided will be best friends because his birthday is 6/6 and mine is 5/5 so bam.. bestfriendhood is happening.  Congratulations Natalie and Tanner! I'm so excited for you to be parents.  I hope that everything is going well and that you are all healthy!  

I love you all so very much and am grateful for your love and support, as I've said many times I know that your prayers and faithfulness have carried me through a lot.  I will always be so grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed me with you all as my family.   Keep the Faith and press on!  

Love You Forever!

Sister McMaster
I got to see Sister Call this week! She's an Aunt too! Her neice is named Jocelyn... so we decided that they can get married, she's only about a month older :)

the piece of hail that we saved from the storm... kind of a DW moment when you put a piece of hail on a plate and put it in the freezer..

having a picnic in the park and doing our best to become like little children :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Let The Holy Spirit Guide

Good Morning Family!

I hear you are all at a funeral right now, how odd it is to not be there. I feel as though it has been a long time since I have been to a funeral (intentionally that is... can't discredit those awkward times when you play at people's funerals in sweat pants or whatever because you happen to be there) , which perhaps is a good thing, but you will all be in my thoughts and prayers today. How glorious it is to know that we are an eternal family that cannot be separated even in death. That's why we keep going because of that single incredible truth.  God loves us so much that he wants us to have the most happiness. I know that I was so blessed when I got to come to our family.  I love you all.  I imagine Grandpa Tom is having a unique week, I wonder what his weekly e-mail would look like this week, perhaps he'd talk about the rejoicing moment of his dear older brother John joining him in the Spirit world, and the pep talk he's giving to his Great-grandson Jace as he prepares for this earth life.   I know he's proud this week.  I have felt so humble this week to know how great the love of our Father in Heaven truly is.  He knows how to help us in whatever trials life brings. 

This week started off a bit rough... I was just mentally feeling very lost and alone, it's weird, this doesn't happen to me a lot but when it does I often flounder for a bit not knowing where to go.  Silly right because you'd think it would be obvious.  A favorite quote that I saw on a sister's wall goes like this "I often find myself on my knees because there seemed no other place to go"  I don't think that is the exact quote but I think it was by Abraham Lincoln, it has inspired me periodically.  I found this to be true in my struggles, as I knelt and just let myself talk to our Father in Heaven things began to change. I'm not going to say it was like a lightbulb and all of a sudden life was amazing because that's not the way life works.  I simply knew I was loved, and knew I could press forward even if it seemed hard.    So moral of the week:  the sunrise came through, and once again the world is a beautiful place.   I hope I can remember this lesson always and I hope you all can too.  When things seem difficult get on your knees and wait, because when we endure well, we receive some of the greatest blessings heaven has to offer.  

So Karen our investigator is doing so well!  She came to church yesterday and is very excited to be baptized!  Isn't that exciting!  She loves testimony meeting and yesterday the spirit was so strong at church, so many people just kept testifying of the restoration of the gospel it was incredible.  Joseph Smith was truly called of God and that simple truth has changed the lives of millions.   The lesson we had with her this week was all about the spirit world and how she can be sealed to her husband for time and all eternity!  She was sooo excited to hear this and we have seen a change in her desire to learn, she wants to learn not just for herself, but for him and for all of her family.  Having a focus on the family is truly inspired, the gospel blesses families! That's why it exists!  Can you think of all the ways the gospel has blessed our family?   We could probably think of a million.   I love being able to see other people's families become strengthened as they hear and learn about the gospel.

Well I hope you all have a spiritually uplifting week.  Know that I am praying for you!  I pray that everything goes well with Natalie!  I'm so very excited to know when I get to be a real Aunt!  I love you all, this gospel is true and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share it.  

Love you forever and eternity!

Sister McMaster

rain is falling all around! (not a black eye... just rain smeared make-up... classy right?)

I love to look for rainbows.... :)