current weather for West Bakersfield, california

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016

OKAY, I've been transferred to the Stockdale Ward, Bakersfield Stake, I've already seen some members from the Snow Ward when I served there for 6 weeks last winter. My new address is:

1100 Mondavi Ave.
Apt B2
Bakersfield, CA 93312

Four Generations!
My new companion is Sister Sophie Elizabeth Hayes from Alpine, Utah, she’s Asian born in Kazakhstan, under Russia, and was adopted when she was 4! I trained her trainer’s trainer, so she’s my great granddaughter!  She is way different from me, she’s majoring in fashion design in Seattle. I’m excited to work with her!! Love the area, love the ward. Also, I’m in the West Zone again, ha ha, it’s so weird.  This seems like an AMAZING place to end my mission, I’m so pumped!!

Okay, this week was INSANE!! The new missionaries’ flight got cancelled and since flights to Bakersfield are so limited they had to push back transfers an extra day! Tender blessings from the Lord though, I got an extra day in College Heights!

So with this new system of transfers, I didn’t find out where I was going until transfer meeting when I got my new companion and was shipped off!  Turns out I didn’t need to be shipped too far, I’m now in the STOCKDALE WARD!  I’m in my old zone, old stake, and I’m with my great granddaughter through my first-born and the MTC companion of my last born here in the mission!  I also made a full circle, going from the Bakersfield Stake to the south to the East and back to Bakes. Currently I’m writing this email about 5 minutes from my old area, but I’m not allowed to go back and visit... Sometimes missions are cruel.. But hey, ‘tis life!! I’ve gone from the poorest to the richest part of Bakersfield, so it’s quite a change.

We had a lesson with K., the friend of a member, who invited her to church to watch him give a talk in sacrament meeting and he gave her a Book of Mormon and the rest is history! She’s already almost halfway through reading it and she has the coolest testimony. She said how her relationship with Heavenly Father has already increased since she started reading and praying! I love how simple it is to grow faith, God likes things plain and to the point! 

This ward has tons of active members, so it was a bit overwhelming trying to get to know all of them, but I’m hanging in there!  They’re super awesome and are so willing to help us out. One of the people we got to meet is a 9 year old girl who just got baptized, she’s adorable, and we were visiting with her and her grandparents, she showed me her dance tricks (she’s amazing, I’m still in awe) and we shared a lesson and faith and went on our way! As soon as we got out of the house though, Sister Hayes started almost shouting she was so excited. Apparently the grandpa we were with is atheist and his wife isn’t really into religion and he leaves every single time the missionaries are over. Gradually he's started staying longer and longer, but still never stayed for the lesson or prayer. But not only did he STAY, but he participated and helped explain what a foundation was! (Helaman 5:12) WOW, it’s cool to see God softening the hearts of His children!

Something we've been thinking about a lot this week is the importance of keeping the commandments. Sister Hayes showed me an adorable video called a "shower of heavenly blessings," I’ll stick it here:

But it reminded us of a scripture in Mosiah 2:41, which says, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

Heavenly Father gave us commandments, gave us guidelines to help us be happy! It also helps us to become more converted to God and His gospel, as we ACT on our testimony, it grows stronger, and as we live the way God wants us to, we can have His spirit more fully in our lives!!  The Lord has a lot of miracles in store for this coming week, can’t wait to tell you all about it, I love you!!

"Commentary on the Book of Mormon," by George Reynolds 
and Janne Mattson Sjödahl.  
Sjödahl is Sister King's great-great-grandfather.

"Commentary on the Book of Mormon," by George Reynolds 
and Janne Mattson Sjödahl.  
Sjödahl is Sister King's great-great-grandfather.

In Bakersfield, Allie found some Route 11 Potato Chips, 
manufactured in Mt. Jackson, Virginia. Sister King has visited 
this factory many times as a teenager, on her way to 
Southern Virginia for EFY.

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016

Okay, this week was crazy! It started off with a day that was 70 DEGREES?!?! Seriously, I felt like I was in heaven. And ON that day, we got 3 headquarter referrals, and a few more as the week went on! That rarely happens here, and we actually picked several of them up and they want to learn more about the gospel! If anyone wants a free Bible or Book of Mormon, missionaries are the ones to drop them off ;)

PLUS, we went tracting and ran into this nice guy. He had met with missionaries a few years ago but moved abruptly and lost contact with the church. SO, imagine his surprise when we come up and knock on his door and ask if he’s talked to missionaries before! He remembered everything about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and whatnot from before, and he’s just about the sweetest guy on the planet! He’s a Blackfoot Indian and gave us feathers! We've taught him a few times already.

We've been teaching this one investigator a lot. He’s been trying to quit smoking but keeps hitting a brick wall. One day we go to see him and he’s just lying on the floor of his living room in crazy pain, we were talking to him through the screen door and got the mission doctor on the phone to talk to him. We thought it was appendicitis or something so we're worried and impatient as we wait for the result. He gives us our phone back and tells us that it’s apparently a pulled muscle in his ribs. How did he pull a muscle, you ask? From COUGHING SO MUCH FROM SMOKING!! We felt so bad, but we chuckled, it was almost too perfect. Needless to say, he has NOT had as strong of a desire to smoke this week. Blessings in disguise. We had a few cool lessons with him as well, on repentance and faith and all those good things. It’s nice to know that we can always be forgiven when we fall short.

In our first week in the area, we met this lady who liked to talk about the resurrection and the creation. As the last 3 months progressed, we slowly find out that she’s actually a member of the church, has been to the temple, was super active in the church, but left for a different church, and said she'd never come back. That is, until we went over again on Saturday. She started crying and told us how must she missed the church, missed the Spirit, missed how beautiful the gospel is. And she, this very emotional super kind-hearted women CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY!! Wow, I wish I could describe how insane this is. She has come SUCH a long way! It was a great way to end my time here, because…..

… transfer calls came in.... and I’m getting transferred :(   They have changed the way we find out about transfers; I don’t know where or who I’m going to be with, I’ll find out Wednesday, since transfers also got moved back a day since the incoming missionaries‘ flight got cancelled... 

Funny story, I found out about transfers during Stake Conference, since that’s when the calls came in, so the Zone Leaders just decided to tell us then instead of calling us all later, and I started crying, and a member went and YELLED AT THEM! As if they had anything to do with the fact that I was leaving, ha ha. And all this happened in front of the Mission President and wife, who looked very concerned for my well-being.

I know it’s God’s will and whatnot, but I will really miss this area :(   Anyways, I don’t have much time left, but a member of the Seventy (can’t pronounce his name..) came for stake conference and spoke a lot on the narrow path that leads us back to God. I really like how he said that no matter how crooked the path behind us may be, it’s never too late to make it straight again. God is always there to help us back on the path when we need to, we can always change! 


Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12, 2016

So, this week started off with lil’ King and Clegg full of life and energy and ready to take on the world. We also made a conscience decision to try and tame dogs by attempting to calm them while they’re in the fence. The first house we passed after deciding that had this cute German Shepard and he gave us a quizzical look. We're thinking that it’s going to be EASY since this dog’s already calm and 1 second after we thought that he HOPPED THE FENCE and CHASED US!! It was just like when I got attacked in my first area, the owner was this old woman who just watched and went "no, stop, don’t, please." Thankfully this time didn’t involve a flesh wound, but this dog DID grab my skirt and tank me back and bit a hole in it. I had a strong feeling this morning that I needed to wear one of my more Amish skirts, and now I know why!!

We lad a lesson with one of our investigators, K., and the stake president, who happens to be in our ward and his son is our ward mission leader. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and I have never seen someone in so much awe at it, it was the coolest experience ever! He’s been going through a lot, he was on the streets for 8 years and helps the homeless community a lot, but he feels really lost right now. That’s why I LOVE this gospel, because when people have those questions we can tell them exactly where they came from, why they’re here and where they’re going after this life. We also brought our own folding chairs since he didn’t really have any and we sat in a circle on the sidewalk, it was quite a sight to see. 

As a side note, I got to do some service at a mini zoo in town, with California native animals, and it’s the only place nearby with trees and running water and animals, and I got super homesick. Whoever is in Maryland, kiss some greenery for me please! Calm Zoo, “Founded in 1980 and opened to the public in 1983, CALM displays and interprets native California animals, plants, fossils, and artifacts to teach a respect for all living things through education, recreation, conservation, and research.”

ANYWAYS, we've been meeting with a former investigator more regularly, S. He’s been going through a LOT and everything in his life just fell apart. Relationships ending, jobs being taken away, friends turning on him, it’s just been one thing after another. He went to a baptism that some other missionaries had so that he could see what it was like and the last speaker seemed to tailor his talk around him. He spoke on how God made the path to happiness and peace really simple, He asks us to read the scriptures and pray daily, go to church weekly to take the sacrament and be edified, and do our best to follow Him. It struck a chord with him, because he realized that he’s been slipping and it connected in his mind that THAT’S why his faith hasn’t been as strong and why he hasn’t been dealing with things the same. It was an amazing experience and another awesome reminder to me how the road that leads us to God and joy may be straight and narrow, but it we fall off, it is so simple that we can always hop right back on!

Anyways, we had our zone training meeting and it was all on the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith was able to translate it by the gift and power of God in 65 working days, so he challenged the mission to read it in that time! That’s about 8 pages a day and we should be finished by November 14 if we stay on track. I started and even though I read it all the time I seem to be EXTRA excited this time around!! We had an amazing discussion on how it strengthened our faith in Christ and helped us through hard times. Anyways, I won’t go on forever about how much it’s blessed my life, buuuuuuut if anyone wants to JOIN us in the challenge PLEASE DO SO!! 

Sorry, I just realized I’m out of time, but I love you all!!

Sister King and Sister Clegg
Peach Cobbler Rolls
Peach Cobbler Rolls

Peach Cobbler Rolls

Take 1 cup white sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 stick butter, and juice from a can of peaches and bring to boil. Put in some peach slices. Take 1-2 peach slices and roll up in croissant, place in glass pan and pour the rest of liquid in. Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes. “Soooo good!”  Make sure that all get equal amount of crust and peach and juice.

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 2016

I’m not quite sure what to say about this week because it felt like 2 days... 

It’s not as hot anymore, thank goodness, they say you aren’t safe until October though... But mornings have been cool and breezy and gorgeous! You know, when we're inside studying! Haha.  The smog’s getting better, still pretty bad, but it strengthens my lungs, right?.......

We were able to teach H., this sassy awesome old southern grandma a ton, but sadly she moved to Oklahoma on Saturday.... but once she's settled down she'll meet with missionaries there, so hope is not yet lost!! She said she really wants to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and so we had some awesome discussions on the restoration and the blessings that come from sincere prayer. At one point when she was telling us a story she just stopped and started praying and crying and telling God everything that was on her mind, and then she swooped back into the conversation! It was kindda strange at first because I had no idea what was going on but she just has that kind of relationship with Heavenly Father, she LOVES talking to Him and telling Him everything, it was pretty inspiring actually.

We also had an open bag of dog treats in our trunk and a stray dog followed us for over half a mile on a busy street, so we learned a valuable lesson... AND, a DIFFERENT dog, this German Shepard, got out of its fence and started booking it towards us with a look of death in its eyes, but we said prayers in our hearts and it just turned and ran in another direction. God loves us <3

We helped this part member family move from our area to a new ward, but something went terribly wrong in communication because they thought that we would be able to drive them and their things to their new place and WE thought we would help them pack up boxes. So we had to rush to find a member in the NEW ward they're moving to to help them get their stuff and themselves to the new place. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because they were scared to switch wards and missionaries, but they saw how willing the new members and elders were so it helped them transition well! 

We're working with some pretty cool people. We got E., a nice old hippie who is real chill.  Its’ so much fun to teach him, and he read the Book of Mormon a few months ago so he already knows what we talk about when we get there. And there’s this 23 year old  named V., she has a daughter and is going through a divorce and got hired to be a kindergarten teacher 2 weeks into the school year and was give 2 weeks to plan the curriculum for the rest of the year... needless to say, she's a bit stressed, but it was amazing to see her countenance literally change when we shared a scripture with her, it looked like she actually had weight lifted off her shoulders. Sometimes I take the gospel for granted since I can feel the Spirit and gain peace all the time, but it was cool to see how even just 15 seconds given to study of the Book of Mormon can make a HUGE difference!

We got a call from a man in Washington who found our number on the church website and wanted to learn more about Christ. He has a Jewish background and says he doesn’t know anything about Jesus or the bible. Throughout the week we've called him, answered questions, given him scriptures and articles and helped him recognize the Spirit. It almost doesn’t seem REAL. Literally, we'll ask if he read and he says "oh I read all of it, a few times, I just feel peace when I learn about Christ, you know?" "Yeah, do you want us to send you more?" "Would you do that please?! Thank you so much!" It’s like that every. Time. We. Talk. To. Him. He asked us what he can do to be happier, to have his questions answered, to talk to God, go feel peace, and he does everything we tell him to and LOVES it! Someone who asks everything this church can answer! It’s the coolest thing ever, he'll be moving to Bakersfield in a week and the odds of his coming to our area is slim but it’s been humbling to be able to teach him about the foundation of Christianity and a happy life. Pray for A.!

Sister Liebelt, who was
Sister King's trainer
Bakersfield, CA, September 2016
Sister Liebelt, my trainer, who finished her mission a few months ago, came to visit this week, and we wore basically the same outfit!

So my favorite line from Preach My Gospel has always been "all that is unfair about life can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ." It’s in the section on the atonement in the chapter about the plan of salvation and how it is through Christ that we can return to God and find happiness NOW. But it kindda hit home when I read part of Elder Renlund’s talk from this last general conference. He said, “I can emphatically state that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, there will be no unfairness. ‘All that is unfair about life can be made right’ [Preach My Gospel, 52]. Our present circumstances may not change, but through God’s compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for. We are promised that ‘God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’ [Revelation 21:4].” 

Sometimes, either on my mission or in life, I feel like I've been denied something. An experience, and object, a relationship with another, guidance or relief from a trial. I've learned recently that often times, God won’t give us EVERYTHING we need or EVERYTHING we ask for, after all, we're here to grow and learn and become better and that can’t happen without opposition! But this line really helps me to see WHY we have the hard times and WHY we have a savior. He does so much more for us than we could ever do for Him. Even "giving up" a year and a half isn’t a sacrifice because I gain more than I give. I've seen Christ change lives, mostly my own, and I can’t deny him. I am grateful for a loving Savior that supports me even when I don’t deserve it, who accepts me even when I’ve denied Him, who gives me a second chance even when I don’t deserve it. The beauty of the gospel is the fact that it’s never too late, ALL that is unfair, unhealed, unnoticed, unaccounted for, WILL be made up and perfected in the long run. I can’t imagine life without my Savior, without this gospel, without my family and without my mission.