Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Already?

Well we've had a long 3 weeks, but an awesome weekend to make up for it! We got to see 3 baptisms this Saturday which were all fantastic! The only problem was that the water heater was broken so the baptismal font was FrEeZiNg!!! Samantha Wilson did in fact end up being baptized this past weekend! She was a miracle because we just started teaching her Friday of last week and she was baptized a week and a day later. I can't wait for her and her husband to go to the temple to be sealed! We also had a little girl named Jenna get baptized. Her mom is a member, but hasn't been active in many years. It was a very sweet baptism as well. To top it all off, we had a man named Tom get baptized. He is just incredible. When we first met him just a few weeks ago, we didn't see the potential in him at all. We just weren't looking at him the way Heavenly Father looks at him. But the more we've taught him about who God is, that he (Tom) is a child of God and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love him very much, we've been able to see a huge change take place within him. He's slowly but surely beginning to understand his self worth.

In our mission we have a "motto." The very last line of the motto is "Joy is the reward." After this weekend, that line has begun to make more sense to me. To see Samantha and her husband work toward the temple is so rewarding. To see Tom begin to understand WHO HE IS....the joy I feel is more than I deserve.

Even though there are hard times on the mission, I can still recognize the fact that I am so blessed to be here. I am humbled with gratitude to be a servant of my Heavenly Father. To wear the name of Jesus Christ on my chest day in and day out truly is such an honor. Time is slipping by faster and faster and I'm already getting panicked that the end of my mission will come faster than I think! Transfers are in a week! Oh well, back to work. That's all I can do to keep myself from thinking about how quickly this joyous phase of my life will be over.

I love my Savior. I love His gospel. I love y'all.

-Elderette TheUms

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Week 16

Well, this has been a trying week. Had some pretty sweet ups, but experienced some pretty hard downs. I'm experiencing the first of the difficulties of trying to figure out how to work with a new companion who's style of missionary work is so vastly different from mine. My new companion is GREAT and I'm already learning a ton from her, but we have different styles and this past week has been one of trying to mesh the two together.

I've experienced some heartache with investigators also. The blessing I received when I was set apart as a missionary sometimes feels like a curse! I was blessed with the ability to love the people of Washington immediately. And so I have. But as I've discovered this week, it really hurts when you put your whole heart into the work and you LOVE specific people so dearly, but then they reject this glad message we're trying to share with them.

I'm beginning to see just a small little bit that I'm entering into my "Gethsemane". I know that the Savior experienced every pain, every heartache, every trial, every disappointment, every everything that I would ever experience so that He would know how to comfort me. Now I just have to rely on Him. I know that I can't do this work alone. Without the Lord, my time here in Washington is basically spent just camping out.

The good news in all of this is that Heavenly Father is preparing His children everywhere to receive the gospel! Now Sister Stradling and I have the opportunity to go out and find those who are ready to receive the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm excited to meet them! I know that the Lord loves us and knows us each individually. I'm so grateful to have the knowledge that I do have a Father in Heaven who loves me. I'm grateful that I can turn to Him in prayer even in my darkest hour and He will hear me and send His spirit to comfort me. I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know I'm doing the right thing by being out here sharing that with others.

I love you all,
-Elderette TheUms

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Week 15

Well, transfer calls came Saturday night. I was super curious to see who I'd be serving with because I figured I'd be staying in Silverdale (since Sis. Moore was going home), but no one seemed to fit logically in who would come here with me. Then the call came. I would be serving in Silverdale with.........Sister Stradling! Here's the thing: I've been out for 3 months, and Sister Stradling has been out for........1 1/2 months!!!!! WHAT?! How can WE be put together, we're too young?!

Now for the "stepmom" part. In mission lingo, when a missionary is brand new on the mission, their first 6 weeks, they get trained by a trainer (clever, I know). The trainer is called their Mom (or Dad for Elders). The next 6 weeks, they get "follow-up trained" by someone referred to as their "Stepmom". So there you have it, I'm follow up training Sister Stradling, so at 3 months out, I'm now a proud stepmom.

But in reality, Sister Stradling is a far better missionary than I am! She's just on the ball and knows how to do the work! I'm going to learn SO much from her! Here's a quick example: Today after our zone meeting, we all went to Wendy's. In front of us in the line are 4 hispanic men, taking their lunch break from work. Now Sister Stradling has been trying to learn Spanish and sees this a prime opportunity for both language enhancement AND missionary work! So she begins to speak to them in her broken Spanish and ends up setting up an appointment for us to teach them!!! How crazy cool is that! Man I love this girl!

We also have an AWESOME zone this transfer! My first district leader when I was in Puyallup just got transferred here to Silverdale, and a ton of amazing missionaries are here as well. No companionship stayed the same except for our zone leaders. This morning we discussed some goals we would like to see as a zone and I can already tell we're going to see incredible miracles over the next 6 weeks! I can't wait!

I must say, I'm very very sad Sister Moore is gone, but I know this work will continue to grow from here--especially with Sister Stradling on my side! I love y'all and I'm grateful for the knowledge I have that I am a child of God who loves me and knows me personally. I love getting to share that with people every single day!

Hasta Proxima Semana,
-Elderette TheUms

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Week 14

Awesome week! Sister Moore might have a slight case of pneumonia, so we've been having to take things at about 90% lately, but she is DETERMINED to finish strong! We had a really great week though!

We taught a recent convert's mom the plan of salvation this week. She's hilarious. Mary Ann (the recent convert who is 18) joined the church about 5 months ago and loves telling her mom about it. So Victoria (the mom) already loves Mormons and refers to herself as "Mormon-Catholic" She knows she's going to be baptized, it's just a matter of when. This Sunday was especially great! Victoria AND Skyler (Mary Ann's little brother) came to church with us! This was Victoria's second time and Skyler's first. He was so funny during the passing of the Sacrament. He got all nervous about how to do it and kept watching me for reassurance. I LOVE that family SO much!

As I think I've mentioned before, we cover 2 wards, so every Sunday we attend church twice. In the first session of church (the one before Mary Ann's) we had an AMAZING miracle take place! We've been working with this guy named Dan who's wife passed away about a year ago. He has 2 young boys and is just having a hard time of things and hasn't been to church since she died. Well he promised he would come yesterday, so we sat in the back with our "kid bag" full of goodies ready for them and in walks Dan with 2 SHARP looking little boys all dressed up and ready to go! AND they stayed for all of church! But the miracles don't end there! We also had a family come who's been less active for a while and they sat right behind us. THEN we had a lady named Carrie show up who's husband isn't a member and she hasn't been active for a few years! AND Carrie brought her friend Stephanie who's the non-member wife of a less active guy who is out to sea with the navy right now! We've been working with Stephanie for quite some time now. It was awesome! We had a little "Less Active Convention" in the back! We had a great time and I think all the families who came got just what they needed out of church.

So many ups and downs. I had my first bad "down" this week, but the Lord is merciful and quickly gave me the strength I needed to overcome it. I love this gospel. I love the fact that I have a Savior who loves me dearly. In fact, he loves me so much that he suffered immensely and even died for me just so he would know how to comfort me. I know this is his work.

Hope y'all have a great week!
-Elderette TheUmse

Week 13

Hello loved ones, I'm sorry to say there isn't much to report this week. I got the flu and was super sick from Monday night through Wednesday. And because my companion and I are so unified and share everything, I graciously shared my disease with her and she was down from Thursday to Saturday! So we had a rough week of things.

We were able to see some miracles, however! Ryan (who just got shipped off out of the blue) was talking to his girlfriend, Erin and she tracked us down Sunday to relay his news to us, despite his request for her to keep it secret. Ryan told her that he was ready to be baptized when he gets home next week!!! Sister Moore was ecstatic because she's been working with him for FOUR months! The Lord truly blesses those who are diligent in doing His work - even if the results don't appear immediately.

I also want to share a cool experience I saw this week. Saturday night, Sister Moore was VERY sick. She's super stubborn, but finally gave in to receiving a Priesthood Blessing so she could get well and get back to work. I called Elder Hodge (our District Leader here in Silverdale) and asked if he and his companion could come over to give her the blessing. They said of course, of course, and came over. We just talked and joked around for a few minutes, being silly and talking about stupid things, and then Elder Hodge decided it was time to go ahead and give her the blessing. I said a quick prayer to invite the spirit and then they proceeded. It was incredible to see these young 19 and 20 year old boys go from being silly one minute, to stepping up and exercising that incredible Priesthood power they hold. The spirit was SO strong as Elder Hodge gave the blessing and it was the first time I realized just how REAL the Priesthood actually is. It amazes me that Heavenly Father loves His children so much that He's given us this incredible gift to bless our lives. I'm so grateful for the fact that I'm surrounded by worthy Priesthood holders who honor their responsibilities.

Well, I'm now 2/3 of the way through my second transfer on the mission. It's gone by SO fast! Even though Sister Moore and I felt useless this week, we're ready to hit the ground running to end this transfer hard! I love being here. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be surrounded by such strong servants of the Lord and to be able to do my simple part in sharing the gospel with God's children.

Love y'all,
Elderette TheUms

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Week 12

Holy cow! It's been almost 3 months since I became a missionary! Crazy how time goes. On one hand it FEELS like 3 months, but at the same time it feels like I just waved bye to the family. CrAzY!

Well, I still love Silverdale. Bill is making awesome progress. He watched both sessions of General Conference yesterday! He watched it at the Elder's Quorum President's house with another member and then called us afterward saying "Do you think this is funny? I just got finished watching FOUR hours of conference! That's ridiculous!" Apparently it was a bit too long for him, but he admitted that it was exactly what he needed. Awesome guy, just needs a bit of extra attention. By the way, who else LOVED conference? It's amazing how much more you appreciate it when your mind and spirit are in the right place. Sad that it took me going in a MISSION to get to that point, but at least I'm here! I loved the talks so much! I love how inspired the leaders of this church are!

So we got some sad news today. Ryan, the boyfriend of a member here, was supposed to get baptized this Saturday. We saw him just yesterday and taught him again. Then today we got a call from his girlfriend's mom saying that he got shipped off LAST NIGHT! Silly Coast Guard. They gave him no warning. So he's gone for 2 weeks and then we'll pick things up again when he gets home.

We also had a GREAT experience with this lady named Vanessa this week. We got a referral for a boy named Blake a couple weeks ago. Blake's grandparents live in TEXAS and they joined the church a few years ago. They told us that Blake really liked going to church with them and he wanted to get involved up here. He just moved to WA a few months ago to live with his dad and stepmom (Vanessa). Well we taught Blake and Vanessa about the Restoration of the gospel and had been trying to catch them at home again so we could teach them more. Then last week we called Vanessa one night and she answered crying. Scott (her husband - Blake's dad) had just left her and took Blake. It's a big long messy story, but we went over to see her the next day. It was just cool that she recognized the fact that EVERY time she's dealing with hard stuff like this, she has an encounter with this church. When we called, Scott had just left about an hour before! So we talked for a while about why we face trials in this life and I can't wait to go back and keep teaching her. I don't know how things will work out with her and Scott and Blake, but I know she is a woman of faith and everything will be made right.

Well today was awesome! Mondays are our "P-Days" and so for the first time in nearly 2 years, the Washington Tacoma Mission did a "Sisters P-Day"! All the sisters in the mission (all 12 of us) met up in Tacoma for the afternoon. We only get to see each other once every 6 weeks, so it was really good to see all of them and to get to know them better. We just got a temple square sister on Monday (T.S. sisters leave the square mid way through their mission to go somewhere else and serve a proselyting mission for a few months) and she's from DALLAS! Carrolton to be exact! AND we know SO many of the same people! Weird connections! She's way cool. So now we're near the end of our glorious day and life is great. Oh, I also chopped my hair off at 7:30 this morning. It's up to my chin. Scary.

Well, this is the life of Sister McCorkle: WA-TAC missionary extraordinaire. Hope life is great for y'all!

Love ya bunches,
Elderette TheUms

Monday, September 29, 2008

Leighann Is Not Actually Blogging...

Hi readers, this is Veronica, Leighann's older sister. For the record, Leighann is not keeping this blog updated herself. That is against mission rules, but I have her permission to take all of her letters and post them here for anyone to read. Then when she gets back it will be a perfect record of her mission. Just wanted to clear up any confusion! -Veronica