Monday, July 27, 2015

I Love It Here!

This week went by way faster than last week, which was nice! I was going to do all of these things but then I realized it's already p-day again. I got the okay to drive now so that's been really nice! I haven't had to worry about dying all the time when my companion would drive crazy!
But honestly this week was a crazy roller coaster of highs and lows!

On Monday we learned about how to teach and do family history. The guy who was teaching us is amazing. He knows so much and got us really excited to share it with other people. I hope we will be able to talk to more people using family history! This ward does a ton with it and even has a family history center in the church that is free. 

(After a very difficult experience where an investigator (Kerri) yelled in her face...she shared the following:)

Oh man, then the worst moment ever happened. I started to cry and I was so embarrassed! I went to the bathroom and just started praying out loud!

It was incredible, the Lord truly does help us in our hour of need and is always there. I prayed for peace and strength to be able to get through this church tour with Kerri. I had the scripture D&C 121: 7-8 come to mind and I knew I would be able to get through it! 

D&C 121 7-8 
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. 

I walked back into the room and apologized for being unprofessional. I think Kerri now has zero respect for me and looks at me as a foolish little Mormon girl with little life experience. But I know who I am. I know I am a daughter of God and that I have great worth. I know I was set apart as a disciple of Christ and that he has given me power and authority to be a minister to the people I teach. I know he loves me and he loves Kerri so much! I learned that Heavenly Father loves all of his children very much and that when we are frustrated or mad at someone all we have to do is pray for them and ask for his love and he will give it to you.

I learned that in moments where you feel disrespected and upset you can always turn to him for peace. 

I learned that Jesus Christ had it so much worse and he knows exactly how I feel and his Atonement is truly healing. 

I learned to brush off bad feelings and move on to do his great work:)

Sis. Douglas

I love it here, all of the members backyards look like little sacred
groves!!! Seriously how did I get so lucky 😄

Monday, July 20, 2015

First Area: Cranberry Township #blessed

(Excerpts from her email this week.)
I'm now in my first area. It's called Cranberry Township😄 My
trainer is from California and her name is Sister Hokafonu. She has been here for three months. It's soooo beautiful here, there are fireflies at night that I love!!! 

The beautiful cornfields in Cranberry
So a lot of the work out here is doing service and working with less active members. I'm really excited to work with the less actives though, because I think they are just as important as a new investigator. Our purpose as missionaries is to help people to get baptized, but it is also to help people endure to the end. When people leave the church we need to try our hardest to get them back on the path and help them endure, or we aren't doing our purpose as missionaries. 

Some of the service that we do here is really cool though. On Thursday we went to the senior center which is right by the library and we went and helped dish up their lunch and hand it out. We do this every Thursday. The old people there are really funny though. There is this old man who always tries to get us to give him more food and he always flirts with the older ladies, it's really funny! Then they give us some of the food so we can eat with them, but the food is NASTY!!! It's food that is super watered down and has NO taste 😷! After, we do the dishes and leave.

With her new companion Sis. Hokafonu!

On Saturday we went to this really cool ranch. It's still a work in progress but it's going to be a youth ranch where kids can come who are going through hard things. Like if their parents have a terminal illness or they are bullied etc. It's really cool and the lady who is one of the owners is amazing. She's a super Christian lady and has soooo much faith. She is the hardest working woman I've ever met. She loves helping people and invested her whole life in making this ranch work. They have all of these really amazing horses there, and they are beautiful!! She showed us each of the horses and told us a little about each one of them and how they got them. Heavenly Father has really blessed them in so many ways to make this whole thing work! It's so cool how she recognizes that and she is so grateful. 

That day, after meeting all of the horses we went and scooped some poop while the two other elders that were with us hooked up a picture printer... dinguses! haha jk, Elder Hunsaker, my district leader actually broke his scapula (wing bone in the back) when he was in the MTC. But he didn't know it until almost two years later... when he was serving in Pittsburgh in the ghettos there was this crazy high guy that assaulted them and punched him in his broken scapula. So now they are serving in our area because it's super safe here. Anyway, after scooping poop we went and pulled all off these wooden panels that were from a fence and we put them in a pile and it took forever. they were so heavy and I was so scared there was going to be a snake or something. Plus, there were termites all over the wood and it was so gross. There are soo many bugs here, it's nasty!!!  We were sweating so bad and there were bugs all over us😲😲😲 But once we got them all in a pile we got a blow torch and lit them on fire! It was a huge fire and it was sooooo hot already that it made it like 300 degrees hotter. Then the fire started going up the grass so we had to run and get water to get all of the dead grasses wet so it wouldn't burn everything. It was kinda scary at first but we got it totally under control. But it was funny because they just told us four missionaries to go do all that while everyone else was working in the barn with the horses and the stalls. That is what I call trust!!! 

It was pretty fun though and it's really nice to be busy because then I don't get sad about being away from you guys. 

At the fireside in Plum.
Then on Sunday we went to church and like I said, my ward is amazing. Every time they pray they pray for us four missionaries who are serving in the ward. It's incredible to think of how many people are praying for us out here and it truly does make a difference😁! We also had a unique opportunity to go to a fireside that was all they way in Plum which is about an hour away from where we live. It so happened to be in the area where sister Schofield is serving!!!! #blessed!!! It was such an amazing fireside and there was about 40 missionaries there and we sang at the beginning Did You Think to Pray and then they showed some really powerful Mormon messages throughout it. One that I loved was, Because of Him. The whole topic was Why I Believe and it was perfect. Some of the missionaries brought investigators and there were some members there too. The bishop of the ward was Bishop Hoke and he spoke as well. He was a football player for the Steelers so that was really cool. Our Mission president and his wife also spoke a little and like I said they are just so amazing. Throughout it they had musical numbers by some of the missionaries and let me tell ya, Pittsburgh missionaries got talent! It was amazing to be able to listen to their testimonies through song. I LOVED IT!! I can't tell you how much I needed that! It was a rough week and it was so nice to be able to feel the spirit so strong! At the end, all of the missionaries sang the As Sisters in Zion and Armies of Helamen EFY medley. The spirit was so strong and I had to try my hardest not to just start crying. When we sang the part that says, "and we will be the Lords missionaries, to bring the the world the truth" It was so amazing to actually be part of that army that is fighting against Satan's army to  help people come unto Christ! WOW honestly mom, I love being a missionary! It doesn't really feel like I even am, but it is such a blessing to be here right now and I am one lucky girl!!! 

Love Raquel aka: Sister Douglas!

Look who she found in Plum!!! Sis. Schofield! First comp-Forever Friends!

Friday, July 10, 2015

July 3, 2015
MOM!!! I'm so happy I get to write to you today. Fridays are my P-days and I only have an hour to write, so hopefully I can let you know as much as I can. I probably wont have time to write something for the blog but maybe next week:) But anyway, I'm doing absolutely great. I love the MTC and I've decided that it is all about your attitude and if you have a good attitude you'll have a good time:)  

When I left you guys it was really hard, but the Lord blessed me to be ok after that and I went into the MTC got on my name badge and a few other things like a key for my room. A sister host came and got me and  another sister and we went to our residence, dropped off our luggage, and went straight to my classroom. I met my teaches Brother Turner and Kendal and Sister Merriman. They are all super inspired teachers who love the Lord and missionary work! Then I met the elders in my district who are all going to Canada. There are three elder companionship's and two sister companionship's in my district. They are all super great and all of the sisters are going to Pittsburgh with me:) Super sweet girls. 

My companion is Sister Schofield and she is from Cedar Hills and went to A.F.H.S. She is absolutely amazing and I have felt of Heavenly Father’s love for her sooo much. I know we are companions for a reason. 
Day 1 in the MTC with her companion Sister Schofield.

The first day was sooooo long and I thought I might die of tiredness but I made it to my bed thankfully:) That night I didn't sleep much even though I was so tired. I couldn't really get comfortable because I'm on the top bunk and it is really loud every time I move. But I guess my companion and the other sisters in our room will just have to deal with some squeaks every once in a while. 

We have been learning a lot about our purpose as missionaries and it's really cool to think about. It's not just random, but it really is what helps us convert others to Jesus Christ and recognize his atonement in our lives. 

The second day was so much better than the first. We woke up at 6:30 and got ready and went and grabbed a quick breakfast. Then we went to class for three or four hours with our district and then went to an amazing workshop that we talked all about our purpose as missionaries and how we need to recognize how amazing and precious God's children are. I loved it:) Then we went to lunch (the food is pretty good here, I've eaten a lot of meat lately...) then me and my companion went to the gym and walked a mile which was so nice after sitting forever. That's one of the hardest parts about the MTC, you have to sit soo much! 

Well I hope you are all doing well:) Oh and I think your card is in my brown purse in my closet. Probably in one of the pockets. If it's not, let me know! I love you soo much and I'll see you soon. 

Love, Sister Douglas

Missionaries in Raquel's district.

All of the Sister missionaries headed to Pittsburgh with Raquel.
Her name badge!!

A couple of excerpts from today's letter. July 10, 2015
So this week has been really good. Way better than the first few days. After Sunday it got so much better. We are actually teaching people. They have this thing called TRC where you go and teach investigators who are either real or could be members, but obviously we treat them like real investigators. Sis Schofield and I were assigned to teach Carolina and Chrissy. They are such sweethearts and I have learned soooo much from teaching them. The first night was really stressful and we were just getting used to how to teach and we taught more of a lesson than to their needs. So our goal for the next lesson was to teach them by the spirit, because that is what converts, not lessons. So then we went and taught Carolina, who I think is a real investigator, and the spirit totally guided us all the way through. It was the most incredible feeling ever and we sang her a song and taught her about the atonement. Then at the end we asked her to pray and she said the sweetest prayer and we all looked up after and she had these big tears in her eyes. I LOVE TEACHING BY THE SPIRIT!!! After, Sis Schofield and I walked out and just started crying because it was so amazing! Then last night when we were teaching Chrissy it was really good. She wouldn't ever follow through with the invitations we were giving her and I had to be kinda stern with her and told her that we have done everything we can so it is now her turn to act with faith and pray to God and ask if he is really there. I think it really helped and I hope and pray that she did and that we will have a good lesson with her tonight! 
I love you so much and I hope you are doing well. I pray for you every night mom!!! I can feel your prayers for me, because I haven't been really sad or homesick, which may seem bad, but it is such a blessing. There is so muchI'm trying to do and change about myself that if I was sad all the time I wouldn't be able to focus as much. Thank you so much for all of your love and support, I can really feel it pushing me along and making me want to be better.

I LOVE YOU TONS!!! and ill write again soon:)