Monday, August 25, 2014

Becoming the '4th Missionary'!

Hey Y"ALL!!!

This past week went by super fast! We were so busy and had so many things that went on! We had a multi-zone conference with Elder Kopishchke  from the 70! He is AWESOME! (and no we haven't received our i-pads yet... lame!) This had to have been my favorite missionary meeting I've been to! He shook all of our hands one by one and then taught us by the spirit! He really didn't come with any training or lesson prepared for us. It truly was incredible! We learned a lot about new tactics in teaching and committing and getting peeps to church and how to best involve the members! Its pretty much based on love, true Christ-like love! The second part of our meeting was a question and answer discussion. Missionaries were able to ask questions that were gospel related. I kept having a question popping up in my mind and finally i got the courage to raise my hand. I asked him about free agency and obedience and how God knows all things and pretty much how they are all related. It was AWESOME! He answered my question with SO many scriptures and he went DEEP!!! Wow it was incredible to learn from a man who is called of God! Obedience is the key, we cannot be acted upon it is our choice if we follow God. We are responsible for who we become. God cannot make us, even though He loves us dearly and wants us to return and live with Him again. Elder Kopishchke answered my question and went even further for 30 minutes! I had so many missionaries come up to me after and thank me for asking my question because they learned so much as well! 

This past week I felt prompted to read a talk that I've had for my entire mission, but never had any desire to read it, until now. "The 4th Missionary" is a very long, but mission changing talk from over 10 years ago. This mission president goes and explains how there are 4 different kinds of missionaries and the first two are disobedient and the last 2 are obedient. The only difference between the 3rd and 4th is that they willingly are obedient because they want to! Their heart and mind are in it, not  just your actions! So profound and it truly has altered my mission for the better! It has altered my life even! "Be true and faithful in your head and your heart, not just in your behavior." 

We saw Cyrus again this week! He was taught lesson 1 all the way back in February. So we asked him to tell us what he remembers from that lesson. He remembers a lot! But he also mixed up a few things too. So we retaught him then and there! He (like always) was getting ready to leave, so we set up a return appointment with him for tomorrow! And our ward mission leader and his wife are coming! Cyrus is excited about that, cause they share similarities with being in the military. 

We had two great lessons with Bethany last week! We taught her about the BOM and committed her to read and pray about it. She said she will, she says she can read a book this small in 3 days! the other time we went over we taught her the Plan of Salvation! It was incredible! We had Charity Thompson with us, she is a sweet 17 year old in the ward and her friendship with Bethany is really helping! We bore our testimonies of how we know that families can be together forever, that we all can return and live with our Father in Heaven! We also recommitted her to make time for the BOM, not just to read it when she does have time. Because that time will never come. We need to show Heavenly Father hoe seriously we want to learn from the scriptures. That also goes for members of the church. Make time for the scriptures everyday! Make it a priority and your lives truly will be blessed even more with direction, comport and peace! 

So funny story! Saturday evening the Elders took us to meet a referral in a nursing home who they met and said she wanted Sisters. We meet Jennifer Scott, sweet lady in her 50's who has a deformed body but a very alert mind. She was at dinner, so we got to meet her table buddies! This sweet older lady liked me so much that she reached into her bag and kept pulling out boiled peanuts that were just chilling at the bottom! lol! I even got a penny when she handed them to me! haha! I just told her thanked her and told her how much we loved boiled peanuts. SO sweet of her, Sister Schmidt and I were giggling as we walked down the hall! 

I love y'all so much! Don't forget to smile! XOXOXO 

~ Sister Tara Willie

With the boiled peanuts! lol! 

 @ the Multi-zone conference with a lot of my MTC buddies!!!  

 With Sister Schmidt and Elder Phillips! (He is from Australia!)

  Sun rise! So gorgeous!

This is Nova, Diamond and Nyah. They are sweet and full of sass! lol :) 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shaking hands with an Apostle!!

Dearest Family and Friends!

Wow what a week! So many miracles, adventures, meetings and spiritual moments! 

First off we had a silly miracle! So we were driving back from Macon after ZTM (its an hour drive) and guess who forgot to fill the car up with gas? Yep that would be me! lol I totally spaced it and we were driving in the country, so no gas stations. Well after going 20 miles or so with the car saying '0 miles till empty' we finally saw a gas station! And thank goodness too cause it was shaking! So we are calling this one a miracle with adventure! ;) 

Another amazing miracle was when we went to visit Debbie and her family! Bethany, who is 16 recently moved back with her mom and isn't a member, but every time we go over she talks with us and shows great interest. She is adorable! Tuesday night we followed the spirit and had her mom 'teach' us the plan of salvation using the awesome wooden puzzle mommy gave me! Bethany was very intrigued and asked a lot of good questions. We asked her how she felt about her mom's new religion and she told us she doesn't really know that much and right then and there I felt the spirit tell me to ask her if she would like to learn from us! And she said YES!  So we started teaching her this last week and it went great! She is awesome and even prayed for us! 

This past weekend we went to Douglas Georgia and were in a mission choir that sang for Elder Dallin H Oaks of the quorum of the 12 apostles! He is so amazing and happy and full of love and light! He truly is a servant of the Lord and the love and light that radiates off of him is incredible! He shook my hand 4 different times through out the 2 days! He also was very personable and asked me questions about myself and he even put his arm around me as we talked! It was such a neat experience! When he was going around and shaking everyone's hands Sister Schmidt shared a scripture with me: 3 Nephi 11:15, that is comparable to what the Savior would be doing if he had been there. He talked about how this is a gospel of action! We are all serving and spreading the word. We are not here just to have a punch card saying we went to church, payed tithing, etc. He also talked about there being two lines of revelation. One is the priesthood line. it comes down from the Prophet and Apostles while the other one is personal revelation! Super neat!

I love you all very much! DO something this week! Show the Lord you are acting! XOXOXO 

~ Sister Tara Willie

With Bethany and Debbie! 

 With all the sister driving to sing for Elder Oaks!

  With Sister Owusu, Ellison and Schmidt! I just love them all to pieces!!! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Half Way Mark...WHAT?!?!?!

Howdy y'all!!! So this week will mark 9 months, the half way mark for sisters. Oh my goodness! I can't believe how fast time flies when you are a missionary! I love losing myself in the work, spreading the good news and just having a great time being a servant of the Lord! I am so grateful for this experience and all that I am learning! This really is the true gospel and it brings so much happiness and joy into my life and into others lives! It changes people for the better and gives us countless miracles! Oh how I just LOVE this gospel! I feel so blessed to be able to share it with others and for it to be my main focus for these short 18 months. :)

Well it is the start of a new transfer and I have a fantastic new companion!!! Sister Schmidt! She is 19 and from Bountiful Utah, my first companion that is from Utah too! She is so great and such a hard worker with a very cheerful disposition, so needless to say we get along great! :) She is allergic to everything! Gluten, dairy, eggs and all meat except for fish. So this is gonna be a great and healthier transfer! I am way excited to eat with her! Her last companion complained about her allergies, but I am excited to go through this with her! Plus hopefully I can lose some weight by being fed just veggies, fruit and rice! ;) hehe

Ok anyways onto what happen this past week! We taught this sweet old man and his wife the restoration. Robert and Laverkin (or something around those lines...) He was pretty open to listen to us, but she just hid in the back room, but Robert was able to convince her to come join us! She was very friendly and had great questions! I feel like she is more interested in learning than her husband is now! The spirit was super strong and we bore testimony that Joseph Smith is truly a prophet of God! I am excited to go back and teach them the plan of salvation! 

Church yesterday was incredible! During Sunday school Brittney shared her conversion story and how she knows this Church is true! Wow! It was so powerful! I feel so blessed to have helped her find this gospel and watch her grow and get baptized! That's what every missionary want, a strong convert! I just love her so much and I know Glen will be baptized soon! He is just scared and needs to take a leap of faith! 

This morning President Cottle called us this morning and told us we get to do something pretty amazing! Sister Schmidt and I get to go sing with the Tifton zone at their stake conference this weekend and guess who is gonna be there?!?! Elder Oaks!!!! SO COOL!!!! Only a few sister from our zone were asked to join! We feel so blessed and honored to have this neat experience! I am super stoked! Sister Schmidt is hilarious! She ran around the house giggling and screaming while I talked with President and Sister Cottle! lol I just love her! :) 

I love y'all SO MUCH! Keep being amazing and know how much our Father in Heaven loves you! Don't ever doubt it! Keep smiling! XOXO

~ Sister Tara Willie 

 Last pic with Sister Abad :( We are with our new comps!

  These haystacks are pretty neat... plus they were super hard to climb up in a skirt! lol! :) 

  With Sister Schmidt and one of the sweetest ladies (Peta Arnold) every! (She was visiting from Logan UT!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Miracles and Transfers!

And here is this weeks letter!!

Hey Y'all! 

Life is great and relatively cool for the summer!!! :D Everyone is saying that it feels like October in August! Last week went by crazy fast! We had so many miracles and tomorrow is transfers. :( The good news is I am staying in Cochran!!!! Woot! Woot! But Sister Abad is leaving me. :( 

For the past month its been really hard to catch Cyrus. But this last week we saw him twice! We were able to put him on date too! He is ready for this, just needs to make more time for the gospel in his busy schedule. He is in the National Guard and now has to go to training twice a month instead of once a month. He is also a state trooper... so it truly is always a miracle when we get to see him!

Nikki is doing great! We also met with her twice last week. She is starting to get cold feet. :( But we explained to her the importance of church... again. She promised she would be at church but she ended up not coming. So sad! She really needs to come.. dang people's agency! ;) But she did give us a referral to her friend who just lost her 4 year old daughter on July 4th. We met Tonya on Saturday and it was amazing! When she let us in she wasn't smiling or really showing any emotion. She just seemed to be there and not feeling anything. :( After talking with her about how families can be together forever her face started lighting up and at the end of our lesson she was smiling and told us how much she loved us! I just love seeing how much joy this gospel brings into people's lives! Including mine! :)  She is way excited to see us again this week! We hope to involve her husband and 4 other children! 

Funny experience happened when we visited Tariaya and Keikei's! They had 3 cousins over abs one of the must have been high or drunk! Man was he funny! He danced the chicken dance for us and then we all ended up doing the 'dougie' but I really can't dance. haha! I love teaching people, not lessons. We make them feel comfortable and then they are more willing to listen to us! :) The girls were at church yesterday tho! Yippie! They have been struggling since they were baptized in May. :( But we keep showing love and support! Whats the point of having baptisms if they end up falling away? That is why members and missionaries need to work closely together. Members are they key to keeping the new converts strong and active! We are all in this together! :) 

I love y'all very much and hope y'all are helping the missionaries out where ever you are! Keep being a beacon of light to those around you! XOXOXO 

~ Sister Tara Willie 
 Fishing with the Elders!

 Doing the "knat" dance! lol! Everyone here is doing it! (seriously they are annoying!)

The Cochran missionaries! Sisters Abad and Willie, Elders Franchina and Greene

Apparently you can be baptized in your bathtub... #falsedoctrine

This letter was from July 21st, I never received the email. Here it is now.

Greetings y'all!!! 

This past week was a hard week, but we still had a lot of success! I feel like I am gonna blame the weather for this past week... ya the rain made it so no one was home and majority of our appointments were dropped. But hey I am not complaining about how cool it is! They say this is a cold summer!!! Hallelujah! Heavenly Father loves me and knows I don't like the heat! :) Some mornings we wake up and it is still in the 70's! I really hope it stays like this for the whole summer... Hey I can dream! 

We have had a less active keep coming to our mind so we visited her WAY out in the boonies! She told us that she has been thinking of us a lot lately and asked us some questions! She was baptized in the 70's as a teen and hasn't been to church since 1983! She really didn't know anything about the church and is now ready to learn some more! She is super dedicated to having us come once a week and reteach her the lessons and help her make friends in the ward! (no one here knows her cause she is from Michigan.) It was incredible to see her bring up the gospel herself since we have visited her a few times before hand. I am way excited for her to change her life around and get back on track! :) 

I went on exchanges this week with the STL's and I got to go to Dublin with Sister Owusu!!!! (my MTC comp!) We really had so much fun together! It was really cool seeing how much we have grown these past 8 months, we laughed a good bit at how we "thought" mission life was "suppose" to be. We worked hard together and were able to help their investigators progress! Funny story: They live in apartments and their neighbor doesn't like any noise... so when I was taking a shower there was "BANG, BANG, BANG" on the wall! She was screaming up a storm! (Apparently she didn't like my singing... hehe!) I just love Sister Owusu and hopefully we can be "real" companions one day! :)

We had a very interesting lesson last week with Miss Sheila. She has had all the lessons before, been taught by at lease 8 sets of missionaries and was even ready to be baptized but backed out during her interview. She hasn't met with missionaries until we were given her as a referral. It's taken us a bit to be able to teach her but last week we finally were able to! We started with the restoration to re-jog her memory. Well she really doesn't remember much of it. Some how she got off topic and started telling us that one evening a few years ago she was taking a bath and felt the spirit of Jesus come upon her and he baptized her right there and she went underwater.... Lol! Wow! Yea Sister Abad and I were speechless.... I started talking about the priesthood to help her understand but she really can't comprehend much of anything. Needless to say we are struggling with teaching her. lol!

We had great success with Glen tho!!!! We taught him about obedience. I had this thought to read him the 12th article of faith but Sister Abad had the better idea to give him a card with them on it! He went through them by himself and started asking a few questions and for all 13 he said he agreed with them and then he said that he wished he had received this card when he first had heard about the church 6 years ago cause he believes things would be different now... like he would be baptized. wow! We started talking about how God has timing for everything and then it came out that Brittney needed to join the church first... it was super cool! He told us he has been praying to be open to ask for a date and after our lesson he is ready to start asking! See that was his answer! The articles of faith card! :) He is so ready to be baptized and Brittney can't wait to go to the temple with her family! :) 

I hope y'all are doing great! Keep smiling and remember to always bear your testimony! Much love from the deep south! XOXO

~ Sister Tara Willie

 He became my lil' buddie! :)

 With Sis. Owusu and these adorable kids (Eli and Grace) in Dublin!

After exchanges (Sisters W, O, Ellison and A)