Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Letters and pics from the last 6 weeks (SORRY for the delay!)

email received from the Mission regarding Christmas Packages
October 7, 2013

Dear Families of Missionaries,

Christmas is fast approaching.  We will be delivering our missionaries Christmas packages the 12th, 13th, and 14th of December.

All Christmas packages are to be mailed to the office and must arrive at the Mission Office by Friday, December 6. 2013. Meeting that deadline will assure that your missionary receives your packages at the time their zone packages are delivered.

Please mark 'Christmas' on the Christmas packages. If we don't know the packages are for Christmas they may get sent out to training meetings, visits by the Assistants, Interviews, etc. before the Christmas package delivery dates.  We don't want your missionary opening Christmas presents before Christmas.

We ask that all packages come in to the office for two reasons:  1)  We log every package that comes in.  Doing so helps us determine if there are any missionaries not getting Christmas presents (it happens).  If packages go to apartments we don't know who has received Christmas presents.  2) Sending all packages to the office does away with any confusion about transfers - whether your missionary might be transferred and gone from the apartment you usually send their mail to.  Transfers will occur on the 10th of December 2013.

Our office address is:

Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission 721 Paxon Hollow Road St B Broomall, PA 19008

May your Christmas be extra special because you have a loved one serving the Savior as a missionary.

Thanks for your help and attention.
Sister Smuin
Mission Secretary

email from October 7, 2013
This week has had its ups and downs, but today I am perfectly content and that is good enough for me :)
So, we had some potentials named G and J. Their house address was an address of a less-active member that used to live there. They seemed interested to come to church, but never came after we had invited them. We made an appointment, but that never stuck. It seemed a bit like they were avoiding us. We tried to call about 3 times, but every time it went to voicemail... and sometimes only after 2 rings. . On Saturday night after conference, we went there for a visit. I was kind of nervous to go because I didn't want to seem too pushy, but put that feeling aside. So we went over and immediately she let us in. We talked to her as G was making her dinner. She told us of that hard time she had been going through this past week. From staying in the hospital and feeling guilt for having her husband take care of her for the past 3 weeks. So she broke down to us, tears and everything. We shared Alma 34:16 and she cried even more. She asked us to share that scripture with G. He said that he liked it. They asked us about our churches view on marriage, and we told them that we believe it to be sacred and between man and wife. They liked that. So, time was running out, so we decided to leave them with a Book of Mormon before we left. Sister Suckow said "We have a present for you" and put the Book of Mormon up, and she started crying. At first I thought it was a mistake, then I thought she was crying because of meds, but then she said "Oh my goodness... really? I can't believe it. This book saved my life when I was in the army 20 years ago. Wow." And we were so surprised! She then explained how her friend from the army had invited her to that church and how she loved it! She got baptized about a month after that. Then she married her first husband who told her that she could never go to that church again, and when they got divorced threw her Book of Mormon out. She bore her testimony to G about the Book of Mormon, and told him that he needs to read it. The Book of Mormon changes lives. It has changed mine, and I hope I allow myself to have it be able to continue to change mine. So conclusion: We found a less-active member while trying to find another... it was...perfect.
We also have a recent convert named M who is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I've seen recent converts that really aren't. She is so converted. She has begged us to come teaching with us. She is just amazing. She reads her scriptures, is an active member, and tells everyone about the gospel. She is preggo (about 6months) and is an artist. She came teaching with us the other day to our investigators, A and R. She bore her testimony like nobody's business. The Spirit just comes out of her mouth and my heart knows that what she is saying is true. A and Rare awesome! Don't worry about me as long as they, The Badilla family, and the Deans are out here.. They take care of us without any hesitation. Sister Dean is such an angel... she is the epitome of a perfect member missionary. She shares the gospel with EVERYONE! She has 4 girls at work that want to come to church. She called us and told us to block out our whole day from 11-5 to come out with her. She had less active members that she had been fellowshipping to go see with us. We went and visited 3 people. One a less active, one an active member that is having a hard time, and one was a girl from her work that she had already told about us to... so it wasn't creepy for us to come. I can't explain how much love I have for her in my heart. Her husband is dying of cancer. She had a really bad fall and is bruised up one side of her body. She could easily say that its too much to come out teaching with the Sister missionaries. She could easily stay in bed and watch TV all day. She could easily make an excuse as to not come teaching with us... and her excuses would be valid. But she sees the big picture of Heavenly Fathers plan. She knows that if she comes out with us, that her burdens will be light. And they are. She was able to come and do the work of the Lord, and also have a girls day to take her mind off of the bad things going on at home. So I cant explain it as well as I want to, but she is truly and angel.
The Lord is so aware of me, and I feel it. We had a really hot day this week, and I was complaining (cuz I couldn't wear my cute boots.... but then later on in the evening, I was having a really bad night. I was very sad and started crying in the car as I was in the passenger seat. I rolled down the window, and the wind was the perfect temperature. It was the temperature of cool summer nights back in Cali, and  I knew that if it had not been a hot day, that the wind wouldn't have been the perfect temperature, and I wouldn't have gotten that tender mercy from the Lord. But it was hot, and it was a beautiful night, and I felt that tender mercy from the Lord. He is so aware and mindful of me, and I could feel it that night :)
 Family- I love you. I miss you, but I am continuing to try to push that aside and continue to work with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I can't wait to be with you all forever :)
Sister Adams

email from 10-15-13
Hi Momma!
P-Day was changed because of Columbus Day. Don't really know why... but its ok.  Its weird how when you're on your mission, your body is programmed to start to relax on Mondays... I had to whip myself into shape about 5x yesterday! But then when I heard that Muddy died, I excused myself to the bathroom and cried for about 3 minutes, walked out, and cried a little bit more. But you wanna know what my companion said? She said that I'm sure she's playing with Christ right now, and when she came he just held out his arms for her. :) Mom- you did nothing. Did I tell you about the night the Nigel died? I had the flu, and dad put him out to potty. Dad then went to sleep before me, and then I decided to go to sleep. I walked by the sliding door and saw Nigel there looking at me, and I decided that I was "too weak" to open the door for him. Then he got out. But its ok. Muddy and him are playing together and they're pooping everywhere... Angel too. ;) I'm still pretty sad, but its ok. :) I have a letter to send to you... but its not from me! This week I went on exchanges with a Sister named Sister Oveson. She tried on the brown dansko shoes and really liked them, so I let her have them. She only had 2 pairs of shoes prior, so she was so happy. I said to thank you... and she literally did. Its such a cute letter. I'll send it as soon as I can :)
This week was good! Really good! We saw lots of miracles! We had plans to have 5 investigators at church from our area alone, and we waited at the door before Sacrament, and they didn't show. First song... didn't show. Opening prayer... no one came... we were pretty sad because we had planned for our investigators, A and R, to pick them up and bring them. So we were just like "if they forgot to pick them up... oh man.. we are going to be so sad..."  Then we went and sat down in the congregation next to the Scherers (I'll explain them more in this letter ) and I was super anxious and antsy. I was so nervous. Then when Bishop was saying the announcements, we heard some shuffling behind us, and there they were, 4 of the 5! I turned to Sister Suckow and said "It feels like Christmas morning!" because it totally did! They came and J (30) was wearing gym shorts and a puffy jacket and a red ball cap, and his mom, L(47), was wearing gym pants and a t-shirt and a jean jacket. It was sweet. We then found out that they woke up late and didn't get breakfast and were woken up by A knocking on the door. It was funny, but we were so happy that they showed! They were really engaged in Gospel Essentials (which was about honesty) and they nodded a lot and smiled a lot. We had a lot of people lined up to talk to them. It was so cool! Sister Dean is so funny. The first thing she does I hug J. Ahh, its great when people are just awesome at being friendly! So now, L and J want to come back next week for Stake Conference... and the next week.... and the next. We're planning for their date to be December 8th, so we'll see how that goes! :) We have dinner with them this Thursday. 
One of the talks in church was SUPER COOL! It was one of the Spanish speaking members, Brother Cruz. He only speaks Spanish, so it was translated by Sister Badilla. It was really cool because there were a lot of pauses and times where the Spirit could teach rather than him talking on and on. It was so cool!! His talk was about being accepted by the Lord. It was applicable to me AND to the investigators at church :)
Then, on Sunday night we had dinner with the Scherer family. They have 4 kids... and they are CRAZY!!!! CCcRAAzzyYYYy!! They have a 10yr old son named Johnny and in the middle of dinner he put on his Darth Vader costume and came and turned off the light and started whipping it around. His parents didn't do anything, it was so fun. The crazy houses are the best to go to. They also have a black lab, so I automatically liked them. Her name is Hobbs and they have a fish named Calvin. Ugh, it was so much fun!
My companion and I are getting along much better. I realize that its really hard for me to let people in. I just hate getting hurt after I do. But that's just what happens. You let people in, so that you can love them and they can love you, and that's just how life it. I mean, Christ loves everyone, and I'm sure he gets disappointed every day with how we are. But he continually lets people in. So I realized that a long time ago, but saw no problem with it. Now I see a problem with it. So I am trying to let people in. Companions, investigator's, members. Just to love them more. So we and I discussed that, and we have been talking more to each other. About things that bother us and things that are just on our mind. She listened to me talk about Muddy a lot yesterday. Its a lot better ;)
Anyways, gotta go! I love you Mom and Dad and Bubba and and Gma's and cousins and Arielle and Amanda and Uncles and Aunts and Sterd and Alora and friends and Nyle and Isabelle and Chewy and Sammy and... even Bella ;)
Sister Adams!

email from 10/21/13
Hi momma!
 I'm good! I loved the ward newsletter! It looked so good! I can't believe you have 8 missionaries! We are hoping to have the work improve so much that we need 8, too! The work is going GREAT! Our faith has increased, so our miracles have increased, its awesome! We have about 8 investigators right now, and hopefully 5 more with baptismal dates this week. We will try our darndest tro make that happen, but agency is awesome and they have to accept :P
A typical day for me is that I'm exhausted and then we work and we see miracles then we sleep. Lol, juuuuust kidding... sort of ;)
Well, we wake up at 6:30 (which sometimes its cool to picture all of the other missionaries waking up at the same times as us, it helps to picture that) then we exercise (which I am trying to do! I run the stairs in the morning and I have had so much more energy) and then we get ready and then we study for 1 hour personally, then 1 hour together. Then we work from 10-9. When it gets dark we usually come in and work on the map and area book, to keep them updated for future missionaries in that area. But during the day we are trying new finding activities, and also visiting potential investigators and less-actives (this is if we have no appointments). Our new finding activities include putting up Free Stop Smoking Program posters around the city and holding signs on a busy street (that say: Free Book of Mormon, Free KJV Bibles, Free Family History Help....  and also singing hymns in a park. We haven't tried all of them, but we are getting to it :) But yeah, that's a typical day!
I love you! Thank you for your package.. honestly. I loved it and it relaly helped me feel loved. I've missed you a lot today. Last night I was so mad because all I wanted to do was call you, but its ok, im strengthening my relationship with the Lord right now :)
<3 Sister Adams!

email from October 28, 2013
Hello Family and friends! 
Well, big news here in Wilkes-Barre... I'm staying and Sister Suckow is leaving.. and guess who's taking her place??? A Golden fresh and hot from the MTC! Yup, Im training... Its a pretty weird feeling. Im extremely excited but Im also super nervous!!  I just want to serve her as best as I can.. and not let my pride get in the way. Its definitely going to be a humbling experience and Im praying that it is. Its exciting to see who its going to be! Im going to transfer meeting tomorrow in Broomall (140 miles away...) and then going in a temporary trio for a night and then getting my golden on Wednesday! Its so exciting! In this mission they make transfers really nerve-racking and its really exciting but kind of annoying!        
Anyways, I had a pretty good week this week. We had a lesson with L's husband, R. He has NOT wanted to meet with us for like a month (the whole time we've been meeting with L). He just has heard crazy things about the church and has never wanted to join. But we saw them at Walgreens and Sister Suckow asked if he would be at the next lesson. He said no. Sister Suckow said that we were pretty persistent (I heard none of this because I was a little ways away doing something else.. but don't worry!  I was still within sight and sound!) and I came back and then asked R (without knowing that it had just been asked) if he was going to be at the next lesson. He then said "ok... alright, i'll go." And wow... it was a wonderful lesson! We watched the Restoration DVD and then we asked him questions like if he ever felt the way that Joseph did and what his relationship with God is like. He has had some negative things happen in his life and he feels like God has abandoned him. We then talked about prayer and asked him to be baptized with the rest of his family on the 8th of December.. we'll see how that goes! Hopefully it happens!
I have a weird feeling that I'm going to be here the rest of my mission. Which will be good. I need to learn how to love these people more :)
I am so grateful for the Lord giving me this opportunity. This morning I was studying conversion. In the Bible dictionary under conversion is says Alma 26. I was like ugh I don't have time to read the whole chapter, so idk if Im going to do it. But then I killed that natural man for a second and read it. IT WAS SO AWESOME!
1. And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla (California.... New Jersey.... BAYVIEW WEST....) that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?

 2. And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? Gratitude

 3. Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, (everyone here in the PPM) were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
And I was like WHOA!!! It was so amazing to read that and to relate it to ME. And how I left my land of comfort many times, and how many blessings and treasures has the Lord given me for that! I still need to work on being more grateful, as everyone does, but I can say right now with a full heart that I am grateful that the Lord has been so merciful unto ME, Sister Ellyn Adams, to send me to all of these places with all of these companions to meet all of these wonderful, weird, scary, amazing people. I have been changed, and I hope to continue to humble myself and change. I love all of you! Please don't be mad if I don't email you all every week, or as often as you'd like. I promise I will do that LOTS in about 11 months... PROMISE!
I love you!
Until next week- Sister Adams :)

email from November 1st
Hello Family!
Well, got ZERO emails from you all today...
that's ok
I'll just cry in a corner...
alone.... Just kidding. I'll cry in a corner with my companion cause we are together 24/7...
Well, I just love you all and miss you all a lot. This week was my first week training... It was really hard, but not as hard as it would have been to train someone that was like me, haha ;) I was extremely prideful and stubborn and my golden is SO NOT. She is from the Phillipines and very sweet in her intentions. BUT! Before I got my golden, I went to transfer meeting, and guess who I saw there...? The Fletchers! And all the other missionaries that were getting transferred, of course, but seeing the Fletchers was my favorite. :) I cried when I hugged Sister Fletcher, because she just reminds me of mom, but its ok. Anyways, so after transfers, since they're on Tuesday and we pick up our goldens on Wednesday, I had to go to a close area with another Sister so that we continued to do work. Well guess which area that was?! Medford, NJ.... RIGHT NEXT to Moorestown :) It was so surreal! The Medford Sisters car was parked at the Moorestown Sisters apartment, also... it was so cool! So I went to our apartment and just looked around. It made me super trunky for my first area, haha. Then we went to Medford and helped the Medford Sisters move apartments. It was cool, and kind of boring, but ok to pass the time. THEN, Wednesday came and we went to the Mission office again, and President Anderson announced some...announcements... and one of them is that we are not allowed to have ipods anymore. Sad day. BUT, instead of ipods, all missionariesa re getting a personal mini ipad and and iphone for the companionship... so its not too bad. I'll just miss the camera and my music. So within this week you will receive my ipod in the mail :) 
But then I got my golden, and I KNEW it was going to be her! She is short and Filipino and an Artist and photographer and loves clothes. Kind of perfect, ehh? Haha she is like 4'11" and super funny. We get along great! Bubba or dad, did you ever train? If so, how'd you like it? Right now its hard, and definitely a humbling experience. She is so ready to learn and to grow and to work... I was NOT like that! Haha she is all about just following the Spirit and testifying, which I am kind of hard hearted in the fact that I let numbers get in the way sometimes. But I am so glad that the Lord blessed me with her! We have had so many miracles, like the members that come out with us are PERFECT for the investigators, and one day we got 5 new investigators, and yeah, its so amazing! I love her. I miss Sister Suckow, she is one of my best friends, but missions are so short, so its ok... I think I'll survive :)
Anyways, there was this one family that we met while coming out of a lesson with A and R and she was smoking on her front porch. She had a pitbull and I asked to pet him, and she said yes. Well then he bit me and then I had to go to the emergency room and it turns out he had rabies... but Im ok now. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAH ok, that's what you get for not emailing me this week. Anyways, we were petting her super tame pitbull and we were just talking to her about what we do as missionaries and asked her if there was a time to come back. She said yes, and bing bang boom we came back and tried really really hard to teach her family. Her husband talked super fast and would. not. stop. SIster Baluyot couldn't understand everything. She can only understand English if its slow. So they are New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians mixed together... so you could say they were talking super duper fast! But it was hard. The guy talked about if he could see it then he would believe. Then Michelle (our ward missionary) pulled out Alma 32 and talked about faith. You could tell that he got it. Something clicked. She's awesome. This area is really teaching me how to listen, though. I sometimes don't get to say all that I want to say in a lesson, but I am trying so hard to first understand, then to be understood. I really have to put down my pride for that, though. Ugh, pride. Such a stupid thing! :)
Anyways, I am super tired. Always tired. I miss my family and friends, and its been like 7 months straight of missing people and the puppies and doing whatever I want, but I LOVE my mission. It is the best thing that I have ever done and it is SO worth all of it.. the homesickness, the music withdraw and getting up every single day at 6:30. Its hard, but SO WORTH IT. :D I am so grateful to be on a mission and the the Lord is letting me be a part of these miracles and they are changing me to be the person that I have always wanted to be and who the Lord has wanted me to be :)  But none of that would have happened if I never left home, and if I never woke up and got out of bed every morning, or opened my mouth and talked to people about the Restored Gospel. I love it!
We recite this every morning for this transfer, and every morning it gives me the chills...
"I am called of God.
My authority is above that of kings of the earth.
By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him--to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me.
My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.
My Commission is to do what He wants done; To say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous Latter-day work.
How great is my calling!" -Bruce R. McConkie
I LOVE that! It makes me so happy :)
Well, I love you all! I hope that everything is joyful and sunny because it is totally DARK when we wake up! Its totally NOT always sunny in Philadelphia! Except when I smile ;)
Haha, bye for now! Chow!
Paalam! ("Bye" in Tagalog) ;)
Mahal ko kayo!  ("I love you!")
-Sister Adams

email from November 18, 2013

Well Hello family and friends!
This week was quite an adventure... but I'm too tired to remember it, haha... but I do remember there was an  Elder that left when I first came into the field, but before he left we all had lunch with him and his parents that came to pick him up. His mom asked him if he wanted her to drive because he was tired, and he said "Mom, I've been driving tired for 2 years, I can drive tired today." Haha and that's how I feel! I am just soooo tired, every day. For 18 months I'm going to be tired, but its ok. When i'm tired it means I'm doing something right :)
I miss Muddy. Its ok though. :)
I got so many letters and love and packages this week, thank you mucho grande! Yesterday we spent the whole day with the Badillas. We had 2 lessons with Spanish people...She took us out teaching and we went to a Spanish family. We shared a message and she translated it for us. But I am just so spanished-out. I was thinking last night so fast and a bunch of Spanish phrases were going in and out of my mind... it was just too much, haha. But it was cool. Sister Badilla told us (sort of) her life story. Sister Baluyot was asleep next to me in the car... so idk if she enjoyed it as much as me, haha. (I remember how tired I was as a golden) But I've decided that I want to be Sister Badilla when I grow up. She is just amazing. I can't wait for you to meet her. There are so many wonderful people in this ward. The experiences truly are preparing me to be a mother and to be able to withstand the cRaZiNeSs in the world, haha I just know it. :) Like I've said before, all the hard times just don't outweigh the good times that I've had.
We met a guy named E. He is tall, very skinny (you could see that he was a long time smoker and used other substances) He was wearing a beanie and a big backpack and had tattoos on his neck and hands. He was a very bitter man when we first met him. He said that all that he  believes is money and living pay check to pay check. He said he would join whatever we were asking him to join (which we hadn't asked him anything, by the way...) if we could promise him money. We testified to him that faith is larger than money, and that's what we do as missionaries, we help build peoples faith. He then said that he just doesn't care about that, that God has never blessed his life as far as he can see. I said "Can we be so bold in saying that maybe God is blessing your life by meeting us?" He shook his head and was kind of offended that I had said that. But, we made a return appointment anyways, haha! We then went back a couple of days later for our return appointment. Honestly, I didn't expect him to be there... We knocked on his door and said that we could come in. We sat down and he took no time in asking "Well, go ahead... what do you want to teach me?" And so we started with a prayer, and then asked him what he expected of our visits. He said "to share with him what we believe." We then asked what he believed. He said that he didn't know, really. He talked about how he wants to know the truth for himself, truly from God. We then testified that he could know for himself, and not from anyone else, but from the source. He later said that he thought about what we had said, about how maybe we were that blessing, and he said that maybe this was the sign that he was waiting for. He talked about how he had read the Book of Mormon while he was in jail (because there is nothing to do in jail...). We asked him what he thought of it. He thought that it was mostly true, that he didn't really see anything wrong with it. We read the last two paragraphs from the intro (which btw I have this memorized... I know... I MEMORIZED SOMETHING! hahaah)
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
 Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.
 We then asked him what kind of feelings he was feeling as we've been talking. He said he is usually anxious, but that he was calm. We told him that those feelings are from God. We shared Moroni's promise and then promised him that he could know for himself. We said that it was a big promise, a HUGE promise, but that's the reason that we were on our missions at 19 years old. That's why we do this 24/7 for 18 months. He was kind of surprised at how much dedication we had, but we told him it was all because we knew this book was true. He asked us what to read, he asked us what he could do to know for himself. It was amazing!
Another cool thing about this story is that the morning of his lesson I was having a "woe is me" kind of day... and I knew that I had to apologize and tell Sister Baluyot my feelings, which I have found that I hate doing... but I just knew I had to do it or else the Spirit wouldn't have been able to be in our companionship, and therefore not in our teaching. I had to humble myself and apologize. Man, humility... what a funny thing that I just am not good at... I've been learning about it, but I actually was able to try to use what I've learned... and it worked! I was able to explain myself and she was able to listen, then the rest of the day we say miracles, including E. And I know that was not a coincidence.
Man, the Lord is so merciful unto me. He just lets me have these experiences even though I am not that great of a missionary sometimes, haha. :P
I am trying to be a better trainer. Sometimes I take over the lesson, and my companion gets like 2 words in. I am trying to fix that, because she has things that she needs to say to help them, too. :) All in time, though. :D
I love the letters, I feel your prayers and support. I have a cute Filipino companion that loves donuts (theres a place here that has really cute eclectic jewelry, and one is a scented donut necklace, haha. Im gonna get her that for Christmas. She's funny. 
I love you all, I plan to write some of you today as we do laundry. <3 See (most of) you on the 23rd on my brand new ipad mini! ;) (can you tell I'm excited for that?! :D)

Love you!
Sister Adams!

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