current weather for West Bakersfield, california

Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016

Okay, speeding through this email!

This week wasn’t the MOST eventful for missionary work sadly, BUT, still saw miracles :D   The non-missionary miracles both involved food. We were hungry and were talking about how much we love soup when a member texts us and says she made extra soup because she was thinking about us and wanted to give us some... and THEN, we were tracting and I said how I wish people texted us offering cookies and ice cream when it’s hot outside. So we stopped by a members house so we could use the bathroom and they open the door and go "sisters, we just made cookies, do you want some with ice cream?" So I’m not quite sure why every time I pray for food it’s answered, but it’s much appreciated!

We met with our investigator B. and she got in a really bad car accident. It was on The Grapevine going down to LA last week and the car flipped 3 times, but they only got seatbelt bruises. She's been trying to increase her faith and when she got home she said she just started praying and crying. She said she felt something that she's never felt before, and that she actually felt like God was right there listening to her! She's going through a lot so we probably won’t meet with her again soon, but it’s been awesome to see how if people truly have a desire to come closer to God, it happens!

Our investigator K. is still keepin’ on, still pray that her mom will let her be baptized on the 12th!

IT WAS SISTER HAYES’ BIRTHDAY!! A member gave us some money to go out to lunch and when we got there we saw my OLD STAKE PRESIDENT from the south side and paid for us instead! So we got to go get frozen yogurt :D

Okay, trunk or treat on her birthday, it was EPIC! There were like 300 people there, including this former investigator’s son! His wife was against the church, but there are some awesome families who are fellowshipping them and her heart is softening! 

Halloween 2016
Bakersfield, CA

Halloween 2016
Bakersfield, CA

Halloween 2016
Bakersfield, CA

 The APs gave us our transfer calls early, as a birthday present... and we're BOTH STAYING~~~ what a blessing :D  The next transfer is December 14 or something, I leave 2 weeks after that...  ALL my college friends will be getting home from their missions in February and beyond... so it’ll just be me at school next semester :p  I don’t like to think about the fact that we'll all be RMs, I still feel like a Laurel haha.

The District
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

The District
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

The District
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016
Whoa, so sorry this was so random and didn’t make sense, but trust me more happened, the Lord is hastening His work! A recent convert just got a calling, activity days worker (she'll plan activities for younger girls so they can have fun and whatnot) and her husband came to church! He’s been less active for years and her testimony is inspiring him to come back!

Okay, I finished up the war chapters in the Book of Mormon, and I got another insane reminder that if we just do what the Lord asks us to, he WILL protect us! He's only in our lives to the degree that we will allow Him, so as we do our best to follow Him, He'll bless us.


Sister Missionaries
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

Sister Missionaries
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

Sister Missionaries
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016

SO, this week had its ups and downs. We get ice cream when we're feeling down and we had to go out for it 4 times. BUT, it ended on a HIGH, so life is still grand :D

We had a lesson with a less active girl. She's 16 and dropped out of HS and is taking classes at the community college. She's had a really hard life but is so carefree and chill we thought it didn’t have much of an impact on her. We taught her the plan of salvation to help prep her for a youth activity involving it and she opened up and said all the reasons why she's been hesitant about church and God. She said it's hard because everyone has "perfect" families and she doesn’t, she doesn’t know much about the gospel since she wasn’t exposed to it much growing up, and she feels like she's never felt the spirit. We were able to testify about God's love for her and her circumstances, about how this is all part of Gods plan and about how when we can focus on the big picture, things will get easier. We challenged her to read the Book of Mormon and testified about how Christ can change us. Her grandma (whom she's living with) texted us after and said that her views on the church and religion did a 180, that she’s excited to read AND to come to church! It’s so cool to see the Spirit working in others’ lives :D

We have been struggling finding people to teach, so Sister Hayes and I pull out a map of our area and say a prayer and pick a street. We felt prompted to go to "Fremantle," so we went and the first few doors we knocked were AWFUL! But we kept going and we ended up meeting this kid who just graduated from high school. Apparently missionaries had talked to him and invited him to church a few months ago and he's been looking for it ever since. He accepted the Restoration really well and is excited to read the Book of Mormon! God delivers for both us AND His son who is seeking the gospel!

On Halloween, our president is having us stay indoors and is giving us 4 articles to read since we have to be in early... Good times... My companion’s birthday is on Saturday and that’s when the ward trunk or treat is, so it should be a BLAST!

On Saturday I got to see some of my favorite people from around town since they had the missionaries usher for a BYU ballroom dance performance in town :D Sadly they didn’t let us stay, so it was short lived... but amazing, I love this place so much!!

We met with our investigator K after church, which was the PRIMARY PROGRAM!! I cried 5 times, there’s just something special about a ton of cute little kids sharing what they learned about the Savior. The spirit was SO strong and no one there could deny that what those kids were saying was true. Our lesson after church was on learning and serving in the church and this couple talked about their callings and how the members have been able to strengthen them in hard times. She had this rare condition where her body was rejecting her own lungs so she had 12% use of them and couldn’t leave the house for 3 years while she waited for a transplant. She talked about how God supported her and helped her through the service of others, and K talked about how much she's been strengthened by taking the sacrament every week. Our next lesson with her is on temples, but she’s already been down to the Visitor’s Center and has read a whole magazine on it, so there won’t be much new information for her haha!

We saw this one member who got baptized in August. She is the epitome of integrity and diligence in gospel living. Her husband was baptized when he was a teenager but still doesn’t have a desire to come back to church, so she comes with her 3 girls every week. She’s been going through a hard time and we shared a video with her about the Savior and how we can keep Him in our lives more often. We shared Isaiah 49:15-16, which says, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." It was so cool because I had another amazing reminder about how mindful God is of us. There is nothing we are going through that He doesn’t know and there’s nothing that we need that He isn’t aware of. He's only in our lives to the degree that we allow Him to be, so as we open out hearts and our minds to Him and His will, we can see the endless blessings He has to offer us! Her daughter, who is 12, hasn’t been baptized yet and she agreed to let us teach her more about it to see if it’s something she wants! The Lord is WORKING with that family, we're excited to continue to see miracles!

You know how I told you about the member who has great great grandpa Sjodahl’s Book of Mormon Commentary? WELL, it came up in conversation with one of my favorite families here and the dad goes and grabs an old copy of it he has and opens it up and shows me! He goes "do you have a copy with your great great grandpa’s name?" I  say no and he HANDS IT TO ME and tells me to keep it! They said they bought it last year at DI and they thought they got it for themselves but it turns out they "actually got it for me" HOW SWEET IT THAT?! Also, the Sjodahls were sealed in the Manti Temple, and he was the first man ever to be endowed  AND sealed there! I really gotta get more into family history when i get back... 

I ate pig stomach! The pig itself was good, nice and flavorful and juicy, and the skin was really crunchy like a chip, and the stomach was delicious. And I ate chilies the other day; we are not allowed to play "dare" games, but someone told me to eat 3 chilies, so I just did it…

Watch the video That They Do Always Remember Him, it’s 6 minutes long and is supa cute.


Sister King and Sister Hayes at Dewars Ice Cream
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

Sister King and three of her current and former companions!
At Dewars for some ice cream for
Sister Larsen's birthday
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016

Okay, this week was random and jumbled but EPIC, legit!!

We finished teaching K the commandments and she went to the LA temple on Saturday! The youth went down and she went through the Visitors’ Center while the youth went in to the temple for baptisms and she LOVED it! She said the spirit there was incredible and she just kept looking at the temple and said she had this feeling inside that she’s never felt before, but she wanted to go into the temple more than anything. She picked a date for November 12; she'll be going to Utah with a member family for Thanksgiving and wants to go to the temple while they're there! Her family is not too supportive of her baptism, so if everyone could PLEASE pray for her that would be super appreciated! I’ve never met someone with as much faith. She's already planning on going on a mission. Mind you, her being introduced to the church came from her friend inviting her to the sacrament meeting when he'd be giving a talk. So simple, but look what came! We really don’t know who is prepared in our lives; it’s our job to share the good news about Christ with EVERY one!

We taught B the Plan of Salvation, or God’s plan for us, and she said that she's been wondering what the purpose of life is, and that we answered her!! Now is the time to prepare to meet God, now is the time to grow our faith and serve others and become better people! Plus more. Ha ha, we had a super long discussion on it and she wants to be baptized so badly. AND we saw E, the cool old genius, and it turns out he was one of the men who discovered that the chromosome was made up of DNA strands and not a skeleton... HE’S SO SMART, and still has the strongest testimony of Christ!

So the BIGGEST thing to happen this week was a MEMBER OF THE SEVENTY came and spoke to us. Elder Cook!! We had a 6 hour discussion on repentance and how to teach is effectively, it was incredible!! We talked about how it’s a way of life, refining ourselves and becoming better through the atonement, and I sure wish I had time to elaborate on everything I learned. But I WILL share my favorite analogy!! Sister Cook was speaking to us and she told us how after a caterpillar forms a cocoon, it releases an enzyme that turns it to LIQUID! And then AFTER that it becomes a butterfly. SO, if we ever feel like our life is a big soupy mess, we can know that God is refining us and we'll come out on top soon! We also talked about making Christ our senior companion, about how we need to go to Him in EVERY decision, and once we do that we allow HIM to hasten His work! He’s in the details, he knows where the elect are and He is ready to help all of us in every aspect of our life!
"During the pupa stage the caterpillar does not feed or grow bigger.
All that eating they did prior during their larva stage provides energy for this transition.
Metabolic activity forms new organs creating the adult butterfly,
while chemically deteriorating the organs from the caterpillar." 

WISH I had more time, but I love you all so much and God continues to work miracles!!

Sister King, Sister Hays, and the Bishop Sisters!

Sister Hayes and Sister King
Don't know about the crowns.....
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

Sister Hayes, Sister King, and her
former companion Sister Clegg
Bakersfield, CA, October, 2016

Bro. & Sis, Swan, who work in the
Mission Office, and Sister King
Bakersfield, CA, October 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016

The weeks just go by so quickly as the mission goes on.... this one was KILLER!!

So I had a stomach bug starting Thursday afternoon and the only thing that stayed in my system between then and Sunday evening was 10 saltines, a banana and a bowl of tomato soup. It was the first time I’ve got something other than a cold my whole mission! We were fasting Sunday to find people to teach, since we haven’t found anyone new to teach since I’ve gotten in the area and all our plans and appointments were falling through. We remembered that a member at church told us to stop by his neighbor who had taken the discussion before, so we book it over there before dinner to meet him. He went to Columbia, Stanford, Notre Dame and UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND!! He’s 85, loves God and said that he would love to learn more and about Christ again! We taught him at his doorstep and we were feeling great. Until he closed the door, then Sister Hayes’s head started pounding and the 3 days of essentially no food caught up with me and we both almost collapsed! God gave us the strength that we needed to have one last miracle during the day! Our district leader also got us milkshakes from Starbuck’s on Monday, on the condition that we find someone to teach, so we were able to fill our end of the bargain!

We taught our investigator K again. She'll be going to Utah with the family that introduced her to the gospel for Thanksgiving and she’s been having a hard time getting her grandparents to open up to the church. She’s been hesitant to set a date but she told us that she wants to get baptized within the month so that she can go to the temple with over Thanksgiving!! It was the coolest thing ever, she ALREADY has that goal and she isn’t even a member yet! We've been going over the commandments but the White’s essentially taught her all the lessons already, and she is seeing how the gospel is blessing her every day! 

Most of the people we are teaching were sick, so is everyone in town, so this week was a little slower, BUT we had an old woman we do service for, who survived WWII in Croatia, Germany and eventually California, come and speak to the Young Women in mutual and it was awesome! 

We went on exchanges in Oildale (hometown of Merle Haggard) and yet again, I have been companions with both my Sister Training Leaders! The last 3 transfers that’s been the case, it’s awesome! So I got to go out with Sister Larsen and it felt just like old times, haha. 

OKAY, so I’m in Alma for my Book of Mormon reading and I’m reminded of how much I love the book of Mosiah! My favorite part is when Alma leaves all the wicked men he is working with and starts teaching the people in the city about Christ and what he’s learned and felt because of the Savior. They learn about baptism and are so excited for it that they literally clap their hands for joy! They describe baptism in chapter 18 and it says:

"8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"

I love how it shows that baptism, and the gospel in general, better enables us to serve those around us, to help others as Christ would, and to especially come even closer to Him!! I love this gospel SO MUCH and am so blessed to teach other about it every day!

Sorry it’s short, I’m in a rush, but I love you all so much :D Have a great week!

The Bakersfield West Zone Sister Missionaries!
Sister Kuang is from Taiwan.
October 2016

The Bakersfield West Zone Sister Missionaries!
Sister Kuang is from Taiwan.
October 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016

Holy General Conference, it makes the rest of the week look like a BLUR! I can honestly say that there was not a single talk that I didn’t absolutely LOVE! The biggest thing that stood out to me is how all the talks were on repentance and joy, how we're here to follow Christ and to change so that we can be HAPPY!!  Which was extremely evident in the investigators we were able to teach this week!

First off, a quick story about how much God loves us. As missionaries, we can only shop on Mondays and we ran out of TP on Thursday.  So, to remain obedient, we made a deal that if anyone asked if we need anything, we'd say toilet paper. SO, sure enough, it happened, and we both hesitantly looked at each other and then asked the member for some TP and they start freaking out!! The wife said that an HOUR BEFORE, her husband looked at her and said "The sisters are coming over tonight.... we should go get some toilet paper." "Sweetie, why do we need to get toilet paper?" "For the Sisters!" And this happened BEFORE WE EVEN ASKED!! #blessed

We taught a man named D who the sisters found about a month ago. He’s had a super hard life, he adopted a little boy who died at 13 and the cat he’s had for 20 years just passed away, he lives with a roommate but feels extremely lonely all the time and he was praying for help when the sisters knocked on his door! We read the Book of Mormon with him and he said how his life isn’t changing, but his attitude is and he feels so much closer to God. And I love how THAT’S what was emphasized at conference! The church, the scriptures, the people we meet, these are all tools to get us to Christ and it is HIM that changes us from the inside out! HE is the one to lift us and strengthen us, and HE is the one, and the only one, who can bring us joy.

We've been teaching K still, and we were able to watch Conference at a member’s home with her! It is such a cool example of member missionary work, he simply invited her to come to church and her life is forever changed because of it. She’s progressing and coming closer to God and she has His spirit even more abundantly in her life. She said her favorite talk was the one on missionary work; her family is still against the church, but we know that as she keeps being an amazing example to them, that their hearts will soften!

If you remember, this IS the area with all the car trouble earlier this year! Prayers please!! I do not want that to happen again... and the car is literally gold, like, THAT is the color!

Friday was the craziest day ever, at 7 am we taught seminary, and it was the coolest class EVER! It’s crazy how much better the rising generation is than all of us, ha ha, God's sending His strongest children down now, since the world's at its craziest! Teaching seminary was awesome!! We just talked about missions and tested them on what they’ve learned the last month, the teacher is an angel that we love and we offered to help.

Right after that we had a lesson with B, who has a very similar story to D, but her mom was actually taught and when the missionaries went by to see her they met B! She’s young but told us how she needs a church to be grounded in so she can raise her future family with good values. and when we told her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and how her relationship with her Savior can improve, she just said "I am going to read and I’m going to know it’s true." Then we had district meeting, and we gave a training on revelation through the Book of Mormon that was MIND BLOWING, all on exactly how it will improve our lives for the better. THEN, right after, we had another lesson with a guy who only wanted to argue, not to learn, and it was impossible to leave, and we were so exhausted and ready for bed and it was like 2 in the afternoon, ha ha. What a time to be alive!!

We give service every week for this old Croatian woman who doesn’t want to be a member, but LOVES missionaries! And we help this less active member who is trying to prove God exists with science. I love it here!

And then of course, CONFERENCE!! Boom. Too good. Just another amazing testimony builder that this really is God’s church, it’s impossible to listen to the words of God’s prophets and NOT come closer to Him, just like it’s impossible to read the Bible with a willingness to learn and not come closer to Him! God is just pouring out His blessings all the time and I am so grateful to be a part of His work!