Phoenix Arizona Temple

Phoenix Arizona Temple

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

Why hello there, Mom!
Good news! We're allowed to Skype home on New Years!!! Just kidding ;)
Anyway, yes, Grandma sent me 2 McDonald's gift cards and Sister Clark doesn't want hers so I might not be using them very soon.
So the other Sharp family, the wife was once a Godfrey if that helps you to know who they are, Will Sharp's brother and sister-in-law, were at our Sacrament meeting yesterday! It was hilarious.They said, "is your dad really tall and funny?"  I showed them the picture I took of you and they got all excited! They didn't recognize me and I didn't recognize them, but it was funny to say, "we went to Havasupai with them, but you weren't there, were you?" "Yeah, I was there! We totally went on vacation together!" Weird connections :)
Thanks for letting us practice teaching you on Facebook. We learned a lot on what we need to do better, what works, and what we want to try next. For the profiles, can you all put "Tolley" as one of the key words so I can follow up with you next week? You don't need to answer that in an email, I will know if you did it when I can find your pages!
I learned a lot this week. I got a little depressed on Friday because it marked 10 months I've been out. I did a lot of reflecting this weekend and made a lot of goals. I'm really sad that I only have 8 months left and I hope I can work even harder with what I have left. It's like what we say in soccer, "leave it all on the field." Soccer field, mission field, I'm grateful for that lesson.
My testimony increased this week on the importance of Church attendance. As a missionary, I look at all the things people are and aren't doing; reading the scriptures, praying, coming to Church, living the commandments, etc. Everyone else who isn't a missionary only sees one thing; Church attendance. What makes a person "active" in the Church? Whether or not they come to Church. There could be someone who comes every single week and goes to all the activities, but doesn't pray or read every night. To everyone, that person is an active member. I know that there are so many other important things that need to be done in order for people to be converted besides just coming to Church, but I really learned the true importance of just that this week. I'm not saying that I don't think people should read or pray anymore, but coming to Church is what will prove their conversion! If a person can't get themselves to Church every week and aren't willing to try, how can they ever keep covenants with the Lord? We invited several people to Church on Saturday and all during last week, and yesterday none of them made it. One lady is less-active and lives RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the Church but hasn't come in over a year. We invited her and she said she definitely would because she could tell by our many times asking that we really do love her and want her there. When she didn't come, I literally cried right there during the Sacrament hymn. My brothers and sisters need to be there with me every week! And preparations for helping people to come to Church begin at 11:00 on Sunday, right as Church is getting out. I pray we will be seeing them there next week.
Well, I love you a lot! Could you send me my/a white handkerchief sometime? Probably with the package you send me for my birthday, if you are doing that. If you're not, I would like you to send me the hankie by itself then :)
Thanks! Love you! Miss you!

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013

I figure since I will be talking with you on Wednesday, I will just share with you my testimony today :)
But first, I am very grateful to you and Dad for having made the decision to be faithful members of this Church. It has been an outstanding blessing in my life to have always had the gospel as a part of my life. It's amazing to know that I have ALWAYS known that I am a daughter of God who loves me and desires my return Home, and that I have a Savior who has made it possible for me to do that. I owe so much of my conversion to your examples and your nurture. I would have had a much slower start if I had been born to anyone else, and I am forever grateful for your righteousness and the righteousness of our family.
I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father. I know that He knows me. It's amazing how recognizing the little things in life can show how close He really is. He is fully invested into my life! And the lives of all of His children! I know that He has given us everything and continues to give. I was reading in Mosiah chapter 2, as you may know by keeping up with my Facebook page, and it is so true; we are eternally indebted to Him, because He never stops giving! I know that He loves more than I can ever love Him in this life, but I want to try to love Him more every day by keeping the commandments and learning the doctrine that He has given us to study and follow.
I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Christ came to this earth, suffered, died, and completely sacrificed Himself...for me. For us! That's a lot of trust that we gave to Him in the beginning. I know that I wouldn't have signed up for this if there was NO WAY for me to stand back up after being "fallen." Heavenly Father would never send us to this earth if there was no way for any of us to return again! Jesus Christ did for us what no one else can. And I know that He continues to do everything He can for us! He is laboring in the vineyard with His servants! I'm not very eloquent and am not very good at expressing my feelings, but I know with my whole soul that Christ lives, that He loves us, and that He desires our salvation.
I stand by Joseph Smith. I know that he saw what he said he saw. My loyalty lies with Joseph Smith, and also with President Monson. I will defend them and stand up for them, and whatever prophets of the Latter-Days precede them further, for the rest of my life! I've read the Book of Mormon, I now read the Book of Mormon, and I will never stop reading it, because I know that it is true. A book that having read even a small part of it, that changes my entire life, whether in small ways or large ways, cannot be false. The Book of Mormon has literally changed my life! It has changed my life many times and is helping me to be molded into the covenant keeping, commandment keeping, follower of Christ that I desire to be. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is without argument the Lord's only and true Church. I am so grateful to be part of it!
My testimony isn't very deep, but it's mine, and I hope it can continue to increase as I share it with my brothers and sisters every day.
It's not too cold, and I didn't buy a coat. I'll probably call you Wednesday afternoon sometime. Let's say around 1:00 or 2:00!
Love you!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17, 2013

Hey Mom :)
Yep! I got my package :) Thank you very much! And you can definitely keep that ornament this year!
I'm glad to hear Grandma is doing okay. I will probably Skype you on Christmas, just because I want my Christmas to be special. If I don't do that, it might be a really lame day. We have a few breakfast and dinner appointments for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but we have to stay home otherwise. So I will be sitting around and studying all day except when I Skype you. I guess I'll do it in the afternoon so you can open all your presents first? Oh, maybe in that case I should call you on Christmas Eve... Yeah! I think I'll do that! Would it be okay if I Skyped you on Christmas Eve at a time when Kelly isn't likely to call you?
And I would like to go home by plane when the day comes :)
Yep, we have a Denny's pretty close to us, I think there's one in the area! I'm not so sure I'll be eating their Hobbit food though, ha :)
Thanks for keeping me updated with camping and soccer and puppies and all that :) I really do mean it!
Sundays are good.  We have to get up early though :( We have a meeting at 7:00 am and our Sacrament meeting is at 8:00 am. It makes me pretty sad. I'm still trying to figure out how to get to know the members! We only see them once a week for 3 hours and I guess I'm still used to seeing everyone every day at the Welcome Center and them having time for us and all that.  We've had a lot of practice on what not to do, so now we can try again to get to know the members the right way :)
Tomorrow is transfers.  SURPRISE! Sister Clark and I are staying here :) I'm glad because I feel like I can redeem myself! I don't think I've been struggling or anything, but I'm excited to start this transfer working a lot harder than I have. Please don't think I've been lazy, but I do want to try and focus on my goals for the area and for the people and for myself. I expect great things from this transfer.
This week was great! On Tuesday we had a Christmas Conference.  We spent the morning from 9-1 being edified by music and talks and year-wrap-up slideshows. Then we went down to the Mesa temple! We did a session and then walked around the visitor's center with all the lights and nativities :) I have to say, I never have craved the temple more in my life. My heart longs to go back! I might not get to again until I go home, but I am serious about going every week. There's no way I can live 5 minutes from the temple and not go as often as I can! For a few days, I really felt changed by my experience. I had a glimpse of the person that I want to be, and need to be, to reach my fullest potential as a disciple. I've been praying and pleading to keep that same Spirit with me that I had at the temple, but as I knew I couldn't, I've already forgotten! I can't live another week without going to the temple. I hope I can keep that goal throughout my life.
Something that I learned this week was the importance of a Junior and Senior companion.  Sister Clark and I have had some struggles because we were both trying to let the other person lead.  The Lord has asked me to be the Senior companion because someone needs to be the leader.  We had a terrible companionship study the other day! We got nothing done and it was so frustrating. I couldn't understand why it was such a waste of time. Then Sister Clark told me that she needs me to step up and lead the companionship more. So I tried it the next day and our companion study was excellent! We did everything that we needed to in sufficient time! There's a difference between letting someone give their opinion or doing what someone else wants to do, and being completely and inappropriately submissive.  I only submit my will to the Lord. And His Will is often that I do what Sister Clark suggests, but someone needs to say "this is what we're doing" and own it. So that's something that I'm working on this week. It's crazy because sometimes I forget that she's only been out for 4 months and needs me to lead her and show her what works. A lot of changes will be happening in the next couple of weeks!
I learned today in my personal study that every contact needs to include an invitation.  Sister Clark and I have tried to talk with everyone.  I learned how to make it better today! We need to invite people to act, whether it's to take the discussions, come to Church, read the Book of Mormon, pray, or anything like that, because if we're not, we're not letting that person have the opportunity to repent.  The Lord commands all of us to cry repentance unto our neighbors and brothers and sisters. The way to do that is to invite them to do something.  Invitations allow them to change and be better, which is repentance! That's another goal I have.
Well, I love you a lot! I'll see you next week :) :) :)
Love you so so so so so much!!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

Hey Mom :)
I don't like ugly dogs.
Yes we watched the broadcast :) We went to the Stake Center for it.  I liked it, but I wasn't really in the right mood to feel the Spirit. It was my fault, I wasn't cranky or anything, just out of it, I guess.
People were telling me today the Highs in Utah, and it made me really sad. 50 degrees feels SO SO SO SO SO COLD! But I guess I just forgot what cold really feels like. I'll stop complaining :)
There is nothing to "sight-see" in my all looks like Murray. So for P-Day we mostly just shop and clean and write letters and eat food.  But today was one of our zone leader's last P-Day of his life, so he wanted us all to go bowling.  It was pretty fun :) That's why I'm emailing you back pretty late! I was on a "team" with a sister named Sister Neary, and she and I bowled 100! That was a personal best for both of us even though it doesn't really count! It was funny :)
Okay, here's the letter part :)
This week was great :) We had another baptism for another mother and son :) I love these people so much! We have a lot of work to do to get anyone else ready for baptism. We have some investigators who are SO READY! but they just have to work out their singular but major issues.  Solid! But not progressing.  It's rough.  But we love it and are coming up with all sorts of new ideas to move the work along!
My relationship with Brittany is improving.  {She named her bicycle} I can't say that I hate her anymore.  And she hasn't hurt me in awhile.  I think we're getting used to each other.  I would hope to one day be able to sell her to someone else, but for now, she and I are getting along okay.  I'm not as sore or tired as I used to be! But I have to say, helmets tend to ruin my day.  Not really, that was an exaggeration! But it's either hat hair or helmet hair, every day.  Good thing I don't care that much, except when it breaks like crazy! Nope, don't care.
I feel like I have become more ridiculous than I have ever been before.  I say the most absurd things and am always laughing like a crazy person. I don't know what's wrong with me! But every day is a great day and even though I'm really loud and call attention to myself whether I mean to or not, people are coming to Christ.  I think it's interesting that the Lord blesses us with our personalities to share the gospel in our own ways.  I would stress out so much wishing I was soft-spoken with a quiet, kind voice who was nice and smiled pleasantly all the time.  But then I accidentally became more loud and the complete opposite of what I'd hoped to be.  But anyway! The Lord knows all of His children! He can put two people in the same place who have the right thing in common to have the right conversation to help them come unto Him.  I know that can be true for everyone.  We have all been given Spiritual Gifts to be used to build the Kingdom, and sometimes all we need to do to use those gifts is to open our mouths and talk to the person that the Lord has placed beside us.  I know that when Elder Ballard said that we can all reach out to the "one" and bring them to SOMETHING by Christmas, he meant all of us.  I know that that means that the Lord can perform this miracle through ALL OF US!
Sorry my letter is short this week.  I love you so much and can't wait to see you on Christmas! You're amazing and I am forever grateful for all you've done for me.
Until next week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

Sheesh! That is quite the story about your weekend. I'm so glad you decided to take your car! You know what it was? It was because Kelly and I are on missions that you drove a separate car. I'm serious. The Lord is protecting you! {talking about Anna Adams' car accident on 'Black Friday' where I was following in my own car..Everyone was fine, thank goodness.  Well...except for both cars involved in the accident.}
Transfers are on December 18th, actually.  And I have no requests for Christmas.  In fact you can just send me a funny card that sings if you want and that would be just fine:)
So we had a pretty good week.  We didn't teach a lot of lessons, but we set up some appointments for this week.  We just mostly used our time getting organized, I think.  So this week and the rest of our time together, Sister Clark and I will be getting a lot of things done just because we've figured out a system! That's good, right :)
We have a baptism this week for our friend, E, and her son, T :) We're really excited about it.  There were some obstacles in their way, but they are SO ready to go now :)
I have been reading the Book of Mormon for my Liken page on Facebook, as you know. I've been reading one of those blue handout copies and have been marking it different for Liken.  It's incredible the insights I'm getting as I read this way! I will read one or two pages once to mark where it mentions Deity in whatever form it is written, blessings from God, and curses or bad consequences.  Then I read it again looking for the five principles of the Doctrine of Christ, not counting the atonement because I look for that when I'm reading the first time.  Then I read it a third and last time and mark the things that stand out particularly related to me. I have never gotten so much out of the scriptures in my life! It's incredible the things that I'm learning.  When Sister Clark and I bring our studies together, I could take up the whole hour telling her what I learn from the Book of Mormon! I really feel that Liken is inspired and I will keep doing it until I go home, but I want to try to get more people on board.  Not a lot of people are participating, I don't think, but I want people to learn as much as I'm learning! I'll ponder on ideas to help people read with me.
There have been so many miracles happening this week.  Less-active members just come up to us and admit that they're members! We are finding so many people to bring back.  Not to mention, we have lists of names of people who we have visited who want us to come back that we can get to investigate this week! I want to tell you specifics, but we only have one computer to work on today and Sister Clark already had her turn so she's waiting for me and it's stressing me out.  I wrote it all in my journal so one day I can read my experiences to you :)
I think it will be easier for me if instead of me coming to the computer to try and come up with things to write if I had specific things to write you.  Do you want me to just write my most spiritual experience of the week, funniest story of the week, craziest story of the week, and best thing I learned, or something like that? Or it might be good if you asked me some specific questions.  I feel like I never have anything to say....but I do! I just don't know what to say.  And it makes my letters really lame.  I'm sorry.  I want to be better but it's stressing me out! No, actually Sister Clark waiting for me is stressing me out....
Anyway! Sorry, I do feel way bad about how terrible my letters are.  I want to just throw this away and try again but I don't have any time! I'm sorry :(
Love you so much! Have a good week! Please stop telling me to "be good!"

Okay, I actually have more time :)
So today! Sister Clark and I went to the dollar store just for because, and on our way back I saw a man with a walker trying to get up the curb to get to the mailboxes. So I asked Sister Clark if we could go back and see if we could help him.  Most people say no and we wish them a good day and turn around, but he said we could help him! He had Parkinson's, I think, so he gave me his key and I opened the box then I handed him his mail.  Sister Clark cleaned out his walker and put it back in his trunk for him.  I just think it's amazing how that act of service had nothing to do with the fact that we are missionaries.  Anyone could have helped him! And anyone should have! I just love the idea of giving Christlike service to everyone for the rest of my life.
Last Monday was really fun! We went over to our Recent Converts's house and taught them about Family Home Evening.  It was my first FHE in a family ward :) There's a cute 4-year-old in the family who is really crazy but funny and he was sitting by me and helping me to draw the Plan of Salvation as our FHE lesson.  He's one who tries to get my attention the whole time we're there, so afterwards sometimes I will play rock-paper-scissors with him or whatever.  I also punch him in the head sometimes.  He thinks it's funny but it made him really mad on Monday! So he went to play with Sister Clark.  I'm a bully I guess haha :) OBVIOUSLY I didn't punch him hard, I was just teasing! But the family is amazing and I love them all so much! The son who was baptized is 14 and he always gives me attitude and dirty looks! He's just goofing around, but I like that we're all comfortable together :)
My friend, Soraya, from Flagstaff was at Church on Sunday! I guess she knows a family in the Glen Lakes ward! It was crazy and unexpected! But really good to see her.  I love her so much! It helped me to remember one of my goals which is to try to love the people in Glen Lakes as much as I loved the people in YSA 1 and 2. Loving the people really does make all the difference.  Sometimes you serve because you love them, sometimes you love them because you serve them, but it isn't service if there's no love, nor is it love if there's no service! I just made that up.
You can merge these two letters together if you want, before you send them or post them or whatever you do :) and you can use Soraya's name, I think she'll like it if she sees it :)