current weather for West Bakersfield, california

Monday, December 26, 2016

These last 18 months have felt like a dream, its hasn’t hit me that I have to leave behind the best experience that the Lord has blessed me with yet. He has made this last week absolutely incredible for Sister Holmstead and me!!

Every time we get out of the car, we see a miracle. On Monday we felt inspired to go work in the Wilson ward. We get out, talk to a man (who ended up being very rude) but turned around to see a young woman walking by with her niece and nephew. We walked and talked with her and taught her the restoration. By the end of the conversation, she asks "where can I get one of those Book of Mormons?" When we told her we would give her one for free she got SO excited and went to read it immediately! 

Bakersfield, CA
We worked in the Silver Creek ward and found and over-sized umbrella that had blown onto someone’s lawn. When we asked the owner of the house whose it was, they said they didn’t know, so we began our quest to return it to its owner! Sadly, we did not find them, but it was a great way to strike up conversation! "Hi, do you know who this belongs to? Oh, you don’t? Well, we're missionaries, yadda yadda yadda." People thought it was hilarious. we end up going to talk to this one man who told us to see his neighbor. we went over and she had a no soliciting sign on her door, but since we were referred to her we were allowed to knock and talk to her! She said she just moved in and didn’t know how to take that sign off ha-ha. She ended up being the nicest person EVER and she was super interested in learning more about the gospel! She said that she wants her family to come closer together and closer to God. That same day a member interpreted my handwriting using Jedi mind tricks (and actual psychological practices) and she said my handwriting says I’m angry, disobedient, hyper, stubborn, loud and rebellious. So, it looks like I gotta work on that ha-ha!

LA Temple
LA Temple
We went to the temple on Tuesday. What an AMAZING experience!! That was the last time I’d be able to go down to the LA temple for a while and it was such an incredibly peaceful experience. I am grateful to be able to go to the House of the Lord, it's another testimony to me of the truthfulness of this gospel and the love God has for all of us! I feel incomprehensible peace and direction when I am there, and I felt the power of God with me the rest of the week! that evening we went caroling with the zone, we hit up a different ward each day of the week leading up to Christmas! It's so awesome to see people’s faces light up when they find us on their door! we were able to find some people to teach through that and a lot of less actives and recent converts cried and whatnot. So it was a success!

Tehachapi, CA
Tehachapi, CA
On Wednesday, we went up to Tehachapi in the mountains. It was cold and rainy and BEAUTIFUL!! We did some service and went out to lunch. I was with Sister Gallacher, whom I love with all my heart and got to serve with earlier in our missions! A petty thing that I’ve been sad about is the fact that no one will want to buy me food anymore after my mission! like, everyone LOVES paying for us and pretty soon I’ll be a poor starving college student again. WELL, the waitress at the restaurant we went to give us a HUGE discount on our meals and was super nice! When we asked why, it wasn’t because we were missionaries but because we were "someone’s daughters," and she would want people to take care of her son. Just a cute, tender mercy from the Lord letting me know He will ALWAYS be taking care of me, whether or not I have a tag on. 

Later that day we were searching for a house but could not find it. It was a former investigator we felt prompted to see. After traveling all over this GIANT street, we finally find it and go in to meet him! It turns out there’s a less active who lives there as well and this man’s mother was a member. He gets me a glass of one of my FAVORITE sodas and right when I pick it up it shatters and spills all over me!! So I have to change into pants, dry my socks, dump all the soda out of my shoes, clean up the mess, is was completely hilarious! But right after that happened he brought me a plastic cup (so it wouldn’t break) and we taught him about trials and why we go through hard times to learn to rely on God and His strength. He was really touched and said he wanted to come back to church and be baptized, he just needs to get over smoking!! After we got back into town we caroled in the Rosedale Ward. We had met some people there when we worked in that area last week and we sang to them and it was AWESOME! They were soo receptive and the spirit was super strong! One of them said it gave him confidence that there are still good people, especially young people, in the world.

We went to College Heights, my old area, the next day and it was AWESOME!! We went to see a former investigator who wasn’t home, but we waved down this guy on a bike to talk to him. He said he’s been meaning to go to church and we told him about the restoration and how Christ can heal his family. HE invited US to come back and teach his family more so they can all come to church! Then we went to see this person I just felt inspired to see and I thought he wouldn’t remember talking to us before. But when we saw us he got super excited and said he’s been trying to find the missionaries again for a while!! THEN we went to another former investigator I only taught once and they weren’t home. But we went and talked to some girls standing outside. One asked if our church had a toy drive since she couldn’t afford anything for her kids. I wasn’t sure about that since I haven’t been in the area for a while but we gave her a Book of Mormon as a Christmas present. She had such a look of awe, I had never seen anything like it before. We taught them more about Christ and how the Book of Mormon can help her and she and her sister invited us back! I taught an old investigator I was really close with as well and it was the sweetest reunion!

The west half of the mission got together to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" so I got to see all of the missionaries I had served with and gotten close with one last time before I leave! It was a super tender mercy from God, I have loved everyone I have met out here.

We went to work in Olive Knolls and we just met the MEANEST people! It was like 5 houses in a row where we left with such sadness! BUT, we kept going and we ended up finding 3 families to teach who were prepared! God just makes us push through some disappointments. Then we went caroling in Stockdale, where I just served, and it was AWESOME!! Legit, can’t say how many prayers we answered of people who needed a pick me up and some joy this season.

Maryland Plates!
Skyping on Christmas!
Christmas day was so fun! We got to help make this huuge brunch for an awesome family and recent convert in Berkshire! We skyped home and it was so fun to say "oh I’ll see you in a couple days!" We went caroling, just the 2 of us, and it was SUPER awkward! People don’t know what to do when it’s just 2. But we ended up meeting this family who has connections with some members in the snow ward here! AND we saw a MARYLAND LICENSE PLATE! It was the first time I’d seen one my whole mission, and I’ve seen just about every other state! Same miracles happened during caroling again that evening. God just touched our lives every time we went out and did something for Him.

I want to leave the words to one of my favorite Hymns, it's a simple testimony about our savior Jesus Christ:
I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.
He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, my kind, wise heav'nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

I have felt a change of heart. I have seen others give their lives to Christ and have let him heal them. I have been guided and strengthened by the power of God. I have felt so close to Him and His son Jesus Christ. I wish I had the words to say how I feel, but I cannot even begin to express the love and gratitude I have for my Father in Heaven. I know that He loves me and each one of us and that He wants to be actively engaged in each one of our lives. I understand how hope comes from faith and how we can feel peace in a world that offers none. I know that God can take us and make us something beautiful, even when we have nothing to give Him but our desire to follow Him. He allows us to walk with Him because we want to, not because we deserve it. He lets us come to Him and He will never turn us away, no matter what we've done. He lets us learn and grow and progress, no matter what we've done. He lets us repent, Christ paid that price, He takes away fear, He takes away pain. He is sweet and caring and will lift us up. I leave you all with my witness that God is real, that Christ can change us, that the Holy Ghost can guide us.

He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:

Christmas in Bakersfield

Christmas in Bakersfield

Christmas in Bakersfield

Christmas in Bakersfield

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016


The Assisters
Sister King and Sister Holmstead
December 2016
The only way to describe the madness is to say that Sister Holmstead and I are essentially APs, we are called “the assisters” as we finish out our missions! We are technically assigned to Bakersfield 5th (the APs ward), work wherever we want, go on exchanges with whomever we want, have unlimited miles, access to all missionaries, and go to church in Berkshire, my old ward! AND, Holmstead and I came out together and we're headed home together!!
The Assisters
Sister King and Sister Holmstead
December 2016
The week starts off with our departing dinner and evening with the mission president and wife. It was way nice because while everyone ELSE there was freaking out because they were going home the next day, we just renewed our fire to go out and CONQUER THE WORLD our final 2 weeks! It was a really nice evening and we were reflecting on what we've all learned during our missions. As if I could casually write it down... BUT, I will say that I have come to feel the hope that springs from faith in the Savior. All the problems of life seem so small when I remember that all things are done with the wisdom of Him who created us, and all the trials we experience here will be but a small moment. 

Button Willow, 25 miles outside of Bakersfield
"demon dogs"
December 2016
Okay, so we start off working in the Snow ward for a few days. I served there for a transfer at the start of my mission so it was so fun to be back!! We were able to find some cool people to teach and we were in a trio with Sister Carter! One of the missionaries serving there is sick so while she was prepping to go home we were with the missionary who will replace her. It was SO FUN to see all the people I got to work with, and it was awesome to get to introduce them to their new missionary :D So part of the Snow ward is this little town called Buttonwillow like 25 miles outside of Bakersfield. It’s about 5 streets, 1000 people, one school, 2 stores and a few truck stops. We went there to tract a bit (and met some AWESOME people!).  We ended up at the public library, and we talked with the librarian who invited us to come carol there a few days later!! When we go back, all the kids there were NOT having it, but the adults seemed to enjoy it! While we were leaving, thinking nothing of the situation, we talked with the librarian again and described our roles as missionaries a bit more. She said she was interested in our message and wanted to learn more! So caroling DOES bring miracles!
Button Willow, 25 miles outside of Bakersfield
December 2016

We visited a less active member and a part member family I worked with when I was there a year ago. They had no interest in coming to church but still loved the missionaries, so we decided to go see them again. HOWEVER, when we were talking with them, one of them who is not even a member, she started reeeally opening up, more than before. When we were leaving she told us to not give up on her, that she really does want to know if this church is true and she’s ready to discuss some of the things holding her back!! WHAT?! It’s so cool to see how her heart has softened over time!

Berkshire, CA
Sisters Holmstead and King
December 2016
Also, for zone training meeting, the zone leaders gave us an overview of the role play for the meeting and asked US to run it and lead a discussion. So, even though we're just floaters, we still had to present a training, it shall never end, haha. But afterwards we worked in an area that has been struggling in finding people to teach. It was a miracle. On one street we got 4 referrals, 2 potential investigators, met the kindest old man who has a strong testimony of missionary work and this one door we knocked on had a kid who SCREAMED, said he didn’t have time to talk right then but gave us his number and begged us to come back :D  Also, one 4 year old gave me 5 pieces of candy for being a "good listener."

Baptism, Berkshire Ward
December 2016
On Saturday i got to go out with one of my trainees and we explored the farms on the outskirts of Bakersfield. Afterwards I got to go to a baptismal service for Berkshire and 3 people got baptized!! Afterwards we visited a family I had taught when I served there before and it was hilarious!! the 7 year old is getting ready to be baptized and his 2 sisters just turn to him and go "hey, you need an attitude check before you can get baptized. If you don’t shape up, you’ll be OUR age when you get baptized!" I was dying. They’re so funny. I also got to see another girl the elders worked with but whom I was close with. She has been struggling and had made some mistakes since her baptism, but we were able to testify of God’s love and the power of repentance. I know that God knows every part of ourselves that we don’t want to show anyone else, and loves us still. I know that he’s been in every dark place we have and he is willing to lift us out of our hard times. I am so grateful for this gospel and the power Christ gives us to change!

This week shall be full of MORE MIRACLES, I cannot wait, we are ending this adventure on the highest of notes :D   I. LOVE. THE. LORD. And all of you. Have a great week!

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12, 2017

Sister King, Sister Hayes,
Bakersfield, CA, December 2016
This week has been the perfect fall weather!! Pretty leaves on the trees, 60s and 70s, cloudy and overcast. It’s a shame it’s actually halfway through December :D

This week was strange. Poor Sister Hayes got the stomach flu so we had to stay in for a good chunk of it :( BUT, we still saw miracles, so life is grand!

We were able to see B a few times. She’s opening up a lot more and she’s better at keeping commitments and following through, including baptism, which is awesome :D 

K is having a rough time, so extra prayers for her would be great! She’s still doing well, has applied to BYU and whatnot :D She is an incredible person and I just hope I can be half the person she is someday!

So, not much else happened other than TRANSFER CALLS! So....... I’m sort of leaving. Sister Holmstead (who came out with me and will be going home with me) and I will be together and we don’t have an assigned area. We'll be going to church in Berkshire (my old area) but other than that will be working all over Bakersfield! All I know is that we'll be "finding people in areas that are struggling" but other than that it is all up in the air!! So be prepared for ALL THE INSANITY THAT WILL ENSUE!! Legit, it is going to be crazy, I’m so excited!! 
Sister King, Sister Hayes,
Bakersfield, CA, December 2016

So as part of the Light the World campaign, this video got released and it is AWESOME!! Read the background of how it was written, but it’s just a simple prayer that is sung.

I have really learned the importance of prayer on my mission and the power that can come from it. I love how prayer enables us to know God’s will, to feel of His love, to gain peace and forgiveness through our Savior. The whole restoration and miracles that followed came from a simple scripture and a prayer that followed. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." I have been able to develop a closer relationship with Heavenly Father and there is nothing that can be more beneficial to us in this life than knowing our God personally and fully. I love Him and this gospel so much, sorry it's so short, I’ll write more next week :D I LOVE YOU!

Sister King, Sister Hayes,
Bakersfield, CA, December 2016
Sister King, Sister Hayes,
Bakersfield, CA, December 2016

Way back at the beginning of their missions
July, 2015, at the MTC in Provo, Utah
Sister King (far left) and Sister Holmstead (3rd from left in the
blue and white dress) started their missions together in
the same district, and will now finish their missions
together as companions, and go home together

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5, 2017

I know what everyone’s thinking, "it's been WAY too long since Sister King has had car troubles." Well, no need to fear, THEY HAVE COME!! our turbo charger broke and I won’t account to you all the terrible noises and shakes the car made while driving it for a day before we could take it to the shop.... and it took 3 times to start every time we got it. BUT, we got to borrow a 2017 Malibu for the week! Salt Lake just bought them for the mission, and we weren’t allowed to drive it but they gave it to us anyways. No pressure or anything!!

We met with B a few times this week. We had to push her date back to late in December because she isn’t super ready to be baptized yet. Keep her in your prayers! We taught her and her family and the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement this week. K, her mom who just got baptized, never ceases to amaze us! She set goals for scripture study and prayer, both individually and as a family. She shares her testimony all the time about how the normal stresses and anxieties she felt before have subsided. She’s a great example to me about the importance of making sure I stay rooted in the gospel. Even a few days without meaningful prayer and scripture study will set us back. I am soo grateful for how easy and simple God made it for us to have the spirit in our life!

We were able to visit with a lot of less actives this week that we normally don’t have much contact with! This includes a man who left the church a while back but wants to return and wants his wife to take the discussions!! 

K is still doing great! This week SHE taught US a lesson!! It was for personal progress; she wants to finish before she gets baptized and turns 18 in June! We all cried when she bore her testimony about the Savior. She told us how she knows the importance of living a righteous life and of staying strong and following God to the end. The lesson was on prayer and she taught with the SPIRIT! She’s going to be an incredible missionary someday!!

I got to go to the Temple this week with the departing missionaries and I forgot how much closer to God I feel in His house and how the Spirit SO STRONG after I leave! It was a strong testimony builder for me about what this life is all about. It’s about living in such a way where we can feel comfortable in the temple, God’s house, so that we can feel comfortable in His presence someday. I love how close I feel to Him and for how much strength I’m given through the atonement

QUICKLY, I want to share a quote I found with you all! It applies to me going home from my mission soon and how I can continue to be converted to God, but it also applies to all of us as we go through the natural highs and lows of our testimony.
It's but Elder Cook and reads: “It is not always convenient to live gospel standards and stand up for truth and testify of the Restoration. It usually is not convenient to share the gospel with others. It isn’t always convenient to respond to a calling in the Church, especially one that stretches our abilities. Opportunities to serve others in meaningful ways, as we have covenanted to do, rarely come at convenient times. But there is no spiritual power in living by convenience. The power comes as we keep our covenants.”

I know that Satan is making it harder to live the gospel for a reason! He knows the blessings that can come into our lives through diligent service and study and he wants us to feel as far from our Father as he can. I know that it isn’t easy, but it IS worth it! I know that God is there to help us with our questions and trials.

Gotta go, but I love you and will talk to you soon!

Sister Liebelt, who was Sister King's trainer at the beginning
of her mission 17 months ago, came back for a visit.
Liebelt, King, Hayes
Bakersfield, CA, December 2016