Monday, November 21, 2016

First Week in the Mission field


Life has been really good this week. We got into Arizona last Tuesday at about 10:30 and we were picked up by the mission president, his wife, and the APs. They carted us into Gilbert and fed us REAL FOOD! I was so excited you don't understand. Food at the MTC was awful and I felt like I couldn't eat anything after the first week. Sorry mom, but I may or may not have lived on cereal for about two weeks...So we spent all day going through New Missionary orientation and learned about bikes and cars and got interviewed by the president so he could better match us with our trainer. After that we went to the Mesa temple's visitor's center and learned about the resources we have there to work with investigators. Here's the cool thing though, Sister Thompson who was my branch president's wife in the MTC, she's a professional actress and has done a lot of videos for the church. She plays John Tanner's wife AND she also played the wife in the video that they played in the visitor's center! HOW COOL? I couldn't take it seriously though because I was stuck on the fact that she was in it. 

We went back to the church, ate even MORE food and then met our host families for the night. I stayed with the Holmes family? I don't quite remember honestly. But I stayed there with Sister Foster and another sister from Japan, Sister Ogawa. Yep, I'm pretty cool :) Wednesday we met our trainers and my trainer is Sister Holbrook. She's kind of the best. I love her so much and it's really nice because she's actually 25 so I can relate to her and not feel weird about being trained by someone younger than me. She's super sassy like me and really loud too. She loves people so much and loves to talk to them and be friends with everyone. She's helped me a lot in just the last few days of being my companion!

So there's this thing that the mission does I guess and they call it "A Sacrifice and a Covenant" I think. So what you do is choose something to sacrifice for the transfer and then you make a covenant with Heavenly Father. Sister Holbrook is sacrificing sugar so that we can have a baptism. Only two days later, we go to our first church meeting of the day (yesterday) and in our Gospel Principles class, a member had brought her non-member friend with her. In that class, this non-member (Sarah) bore her testimony of how church has changed her life and she'd only been to church ONE TIME!!! It was so cool! So afterwards, Sis. Holbrook and I went to talk to her and got an appointment with her for tonight! It's really cool to see how Heavenly Father keeps his promises when we make a covenant with Him and keep our end of the promise. I have decided to sacrifice naps and I may or may not cry over the next six weeks :( but it will be good and I'm excited!

In my personal study time in the morning, I started something new. I have a copy of the Book of Mormon that I am dedicating to the study of Faith. I spent about half an hour studying faith in the Bible Dictionary to get an idea of what I wanted to focus on and how I wanted to study. With that I have gotten through to 1 Nephi 11 and so far it has been awesome. I am seeing so many things that I never really thought of or noticed before! Like how much Nephi shows "actions" of faith before receiving anything in return. Most of the things that I highlight are Nephi or Lehi acting on faith and it's mind-blowing. Some of those actions I never really thought of as being actions of faith before. But I learned that faith is not just believing in things you cannot see, in the Bible Dictionary it's also described as a confidence in something or someone. That has changed my perspective on faith SO much! It's easier to have a confidence in someone, it's more solid and tangible to think of it as confidence. I feel  like I can have confidence in my Heavenly Father and in my Savior. When I say it that way, I feel like it's more real. I can really rely on them now. I'm not as scared or full of doubt like I used to be. 

It's amazing how much can change in a person when they truly understand something. When you truly understand faith, it's so much easier to have it. When you truly understand the atonement and repentance, it's so much easier to use it. When you truly understand the gospel and doctrines of Christ, it's so much easier to believe it and want to align your will and life with God's. 

I am so very grateful for this gospel and the beautiful blessings it has brought into my life and the lives of others. I know that this church is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is inspired by God. That the words it contains are there because God wanted it to be. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us and that He wants us to return to Him someday, and that Christ sacrificed himself so that we could. I love my Savior with all my heart and am most grateful for this opportunity to serve as a missionary, to bring the world His truth. 

I love you all and miss you! I hope all is well back at home and that everyone is safe and healthy.

Sister Conrad

I'm serving in Cortina which is in Queen Creek, AZ. My area is literally a square mile and there are five wards within our area. We cover four of them. My address is 19111 E Canary way, Queen Creek, AZ 85142.

The first picture is of Sister Holbrook and me

Second is of us with Sis Holbrook's last companion, Sis Smauch (in the blue), and her new companion

Third is of me in front of the fountain area that's next to the Mesa Temple's visitor center

Fourth is Sister Foster and I on the rooftop of the airport in Phoenix 

Fifth is Sis King being silly and adorable on the same roof

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Safe Arrival in Arizona


At 3am this morning Sister Conrad and her companion were up, packing, and took two trains and a bus to get to the Salt Lake City airport.  She was able to call us shortly after 6 o'clock am for a 10 minute call as she was about to board for Arizona.  She was in good spirits, excited, and cried because she missed us so much. So was so glad to finally get out into the field. Since her p-day at the MTC was on Tuesday, and she traveled that day, she didn't get to write us. She won't have another p-day until next Monday. But we received a lovely email from the mission home today explaining what their day was like yesterday leaving the MTC and arriving at the mission home, here is a portion of the email from the mission secretary:

"Their day began early morning at the MTC, so they had an early start and were worn out by afternoon.  Sister Zollinger prepared a lovely luncheon for them which they really enjoyed.  Our senior missionary couples oriented them on bikes, cars, referrals, housing, and the office. Each of them had an opportunity to meet and interview with President Wheeler.  Elder Ashton  introduced them to their bicycles, and by evening they looked forward to a good night’s rest.  They were housed in a host member’s home last night; then today they receive more training, meet their new companion, attend Transfer Meeting, and then head to their assigned areas of service.  We have attached a photo of group.  They are going to be great missionaries.  All the other missionaries in our mission are very excited to have the opportunity to get to know them."

Attached is a picture of their group, and will update when we get the individual picture sent to us shortly. She and her MTC companion and two other sister missionaries had all been together at the MTC and all 4 went together to AZ, she was so happy to have them to travel with.  She's become very close to these sisters and it's so fun for her to have them with her while she's adjusting to a new environment. 

Week 2 of the MTC

Hi everyone!

This last week was a bit more interesting than the week before. Everyone was on edge with stress. Halfway through the week we all just kind of broke and it was not uncommon for us to fall into hysterical laughing fits. I had some struggles of my own, learning about how to teach different people and personalities. Last Monday we started TRC visits (training resource center) where we would meet with two different investigators and try to teach them according to our purpose which is to bring others unto Christ. Both of our investigators (Sis Foster and I) didn't seem at all interested in coming closer to Christ and Heavenly father and were more interested in debating certain policies the church has given us. Well, one of them did that. The other investigator seemed more interested in the social aspect of the visit and didn't seem too keen about listening to what we had to share with her. I definitely felt like a therapist quite a bit last week. But I learned a little more about God and how to lean on him when I feel like I can't keep going anymore. I learned how to listen to Him more and rely on His love for His children when I would much rather turn and run the other way because it seemed too hard. I learned a little more about patience and humility. Things will almost never go my way, no matter how hard I try to control things. The Lord is all-knowing and I have to rely on His wisdom and not my own. I don't know everything, but I don't need to as long as I rely on the Lord. 

I also got sick on Sunday night and yesterday I just got worse and worse. The cool thing about being in a district is that I have access to the priesthood through eight Elders who hold the priesthood authority! Before Sis Foster and I went back to our room for the night, the Elders asked if I wanted a blessing. I wasn't too sure but I let them anyway. It was really weird to hear them say my full name (I almost forget that I have a name other than Sister Conrad sometimes).  But when they gave me the blessing it helped a lot. Some of the things that the Elder said to me were really comforting to hear. He reminded me that my Heavenly Father knew my worries and weaknesses and that He would strengthen me. He also told me that I would be well enough to start off my mission successfully by the time I leave the MTC next week and head down to Arizona. Knowing that I have that promise makes me feel better today, even though I am still sick. I know that I will be well again by next week and ready to serve my Heavenly Father. 

I am so excited to get into the mission field guys! I can't wait to leave this campus and get to start moving around and meeting people and learning more! I'm far from being totally prepare but I know that the Lord will help me in my preparations. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you all!

Sis Conrad