Monday, December 16, 2013

I love smiling.... smilings my favorite!!

yes the quote is from elf. my all time favorite christmas movie, even though i have never fully seen it all the way through because the past 7 times i have tried to watch it, i fall asleep..... just realised that does not make it sound very good. i promise it is, i just have a problem where i fall asleep in every movie. so if you have not seen elf go watch it for me. and if you have, you should obviously watch it again.  

so don't hate me but it is going to be a short email this week because we got back from the missionary Christmas party thing late and ya i am making excuses i know i am sorry and oh my goodness i just realised the next time i will be talking to you, it will be face to faceeeeee!!!!! weird.... but bad news, the time got shortened from an hr and a half to 30-40 mins. but hey better than nothing ya? so mum problem, i am not a skype fan so idk really how to use it either, lame i know.  i have it on my laptop but forgot pretty much all my username and stuff for it. hopefully it is still logged in. we are going to the senior couples home and doing it so it will work. soooo i think we will skype at like 3 here so 7 your time? possibly.... we will just see how it goes. if not don't worry i am alive and you will see in me in 9 months!  

but drum role please..... my new companion is Sister Rachel pope from provo utah.  She is really amazing and we get along great. she is fresh from the MTC but is so capable that training her is not even really training her. she used to be a professional ballroom dancer. cool huh. but no i still stink at dancing, i am hopeless even with her help.  

thank you for the presents!!!! we got them at the party today, but i really really really don't think i am going to be able to make it till next week before i open them. we all know i am not the most patient person in the world. 

Mary and Joseph, pictures and videos
also we had the ward christmas party on Saturday.  it was sooooooooo good. like best one ever. it was a night in Bethlehem.  everyone dressed up and sat on the ground and ate and ya i will try and round up pics from other people because of course being me, i forgot my camera, but Sister pope and I were angels. we wore baptismal dresses.  i love this ward. i feel like such a part of it. it is going to be hard to leave after 6 months here. i am definitely coming back and visiting! but what was really cool was a lady who was baptised a few months ago in another stake just moved here, and asked on to be visited by missionaries since she didn't know where the church was etc.... but she came to her first ward thing, and her sister-in-law and all her kids who aren't members came and loved it! 

A Gift to the World, 9 min video of Jesus' birth 

Also about 2 months ago we saw this lady who the elders taught a couple of years ago.  Our first visit was amazing, but then a few days later she said that she was so sorry but just could not do this right now and different things.  We took by my favorite picture of Christ with the girls head on his shoulder and left a note.  on saturday we decided to make some christmas cupcakes (looked absolutely awful by the way but didn't taste to bad..... and i am not exaggerating, when some people saw them they just started laughing and said hey well at least you tried.... they were that bad) but we randomly    ( well now we know it wasn't random but spirit guided) decided to take one by with a note and a christmas message on the inside.  she actually opened the door. looked a bit surprised to see us but was very kind.  she thanked us so much for the picture of the girl and Christ.  said she tried to send a txt thanking us but it didn't work.... anyways she invited us back a few days after christmas!  She is the most amazing lady and i know Heavenly Father loves her so much. 

so short email but very quick update for the week.  I will hopefully see you on the 25th! if not we will call.  I love you so much! adam merry christmas and a happy new year to you too! mckay, don't even talk to me about being fat, but suggestion do insanity. we are waking up every day at 6 and doing it.... you will be great afterwards. i am currently walking like an old crippled man. 

dad i would love to have your book, and admire the font and cover and all that jazz and then in 9 months read it, or i could pass it out and you could become a hit over on the big isle. i also don't even know what the word reticent means, but i am very proud of you for spelling it right... that is the word you were talking about right?? ha

mum sounds like you are going a bit crazy and being way to busy.  like always. take a nap for me ya? i love the bit about rejoicing.  we have so much to rejoice about! thank you for looking up stuff about the major.... but another 2 semesters... ehhhh idk.... but i will think about it!

well gotta go! love you! rach

oh ps so while the elders were emailing sister pope and i found a big huge blanket and wrapped up on the floor and fell asleep, except the heat in the church is never on so it was freezing, and my shoes have holes in them so my feet were drenched so i was literally freezing and i my heart really feels for bums! idk how they do it! elder davis says they drink alcohol to stay warm.... don't worry i was not that cold. have a great week!!  
       maybe we should have sent her shoes for Christmas!!!  Merry Christmas all from Sister Formica and her family!  

Monday, December 9, 2013

and in the morning, I'm making waffles!

This is Chris -- I've struggled with how much to share of Rachel's email this week.  I have decided to share the parts of it that aren't too private in the hopes that it could possibly help someone who reads it.  She and the mission president and his wife drove her companion home last night.  She has struggled with severe depression and needed to be home to get help.  Here are Rachel's thoughts.  I'm grateful for the kind and compassionate daughter with which I have been blessed and the wisdom she is gaining.      

Shrek quote for the subject line, and it is due to the fact that last night I spent the night in President and Sister Jordans' flat and he made me waffles in the morning.  We went on a road trip last night to the Birmingham mission and didn't get home till about 2.  

okay ill  quit being so mysterious and tell you whats up.

my companion actually went home last night.  President and Sister Jordan and her and I drove her home last night from about 9pm to 2am.....  It doesn't even seem real. .. .it broke my heart having her go home, she wanted to be such a good missionary ...but I know that Heavenly Father knows best, and now she can get the help she needs ...  so last night I spent the night at presidents home, and now I have just been chilling in the visitor center today.  Idk my mind is a bit overwhelmed at this exact moment in time but hey it is okay.  I have learned so many amazing things from the past 11 weeks.  things I will never ever forget and that will help me the rest of my life.  I just hope and pray that I was able to help her just a little bit.  I am a bit worried that I didn't do enough, didn't do all I could.  President and Sister Jordan said that we were meant to be together ... but a part of me feels like I could have done more. but ya that has pretty much been the majority of life the past little bit.

on a happier note the gratitude tree is full! thank you so much for it. such a good idea, everyone loved it.  also if you could maybe send sister    an email.  she really needs love and support right now. 

i love you so much. thank you so much for your love and support and for being such amazing parents. 

oh ps i forgot to say when i went to get my haircut they offered 18 different types of free drinks...... 14 teas and then beer and wine...... so crazy it was such a posh, aka fancy slash idk how to describe the word posh anyway place.  no idea how expensive till the very end. it was so much i debated on telling them to just put the hair back on my head..... so my haircut is my christmas present to myself because it was so much haha

i love you! i will update you more next week!  have a great week! 

love you guys!!!! rachel

you never told me what cous cous is?? i am not joking, i want to know! 

ahhhhhh 2014! what?? 

 Chris again -- My sister shared a story with me several years ago that I love.  I've pasted it here. 

The Cracked Water Pot

By Sacinandana Swami
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of the pole he carried across the back of his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on every day for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered.
But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.
Moral: Each of us has his/her unique flaws—we are all cracked pots. But a compassionate and expert devotee can engage us in the Lord’s service, and then we can all be useful, despite our defects.
We're all "cracked pots" in our own way and need to find our individual way to serve the Lord -- with all our heart, might, mind and strength.    Thanks for sharing Rachel's mission with us.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Its officially DECEMBER!!!! let the celebrations begin!

St Albans Cathedral Choristers snowball fight after morning rehearsals
so this is going to have to be very short because I am awful and ya no excuses i just am awful and would always get distracted talking to Elder Davis and Ottoni while i was trying to email and now we need to be home in 20 mins and it takes 20 mins to walk home.... oops :) walk fast! 

but update on the week, we didn't have a working toilet for 5 days.... 5 DAYS!!! and the nearest one we could use was at the chapel.... and as you know sister coons is sick and stuff so it is necessary that she have a toilet, so every morning for exercise we would go to the chapel.... and before we would go home for the evening we would have to go to the chapel and ya we pretty much lived at the church for those 5 days.... 

I had a proper thanksgiving dinner! it was amazing. a new senior couple moved in from Utah last monday and invited us over for dinner on thanksgiving. it was amazing!!! actually had mashed potatoes.  but sad thing was no pumpkin pie. they don't like it. they make a pumpkin cake instead... but that is okay they are so lovely that i decided to forgive them. Their daughter and granddaughter were there visiting and it was so great to be with a family.  but it made me wish i was home with you guys. but hey next thanksgiving!  i can't believe it is already the end of the year.  half way done pretty much..... and i need to start thinking about school and signing up for classes and what i want to do with my life and ahhhhhhhhh not yet. brain overload.  put it off for as long as possible.  anyways the couples name is the whittickers i definitely spelled that wrong.... from Utah.  They are amazing!!! I can't wait to serve a senior mission with my husband. it is going to be the best thing ever.  i know kinda jumping ahead there. but he is a Joseph Smith history guy, taught at BYU for 40 years.  Just finished working on the Joseph Smith papers.  he helped write a book that I thought you would be interested in dad something like men with a mission or something like that about the first missionaries that came over to England.

we had interviews with President Jordan.  They are my favorite. he is such an amazing man.  I always feel like i want to go change the world after we finish the conference.    

oh ps i chopped my hair off.... okay i didn't i am too chicken, but i definitely peer pressured Sister Coons into cutting her hair short.... but it looks great!!! don't worry she likes it, but let me just say i can be very persuasive haha  

St. Ablans is lit up like Disneyland.  It is beautiful.  If anyone has a chance to go to disneyland this time of year.... DO IT!  best experience of your life.  I remember last year i went, and you feel like you have entered a whole new world (pun intended... sorry that was so lame, that is what happens when i type this fast and now i don't have time to go delete it and i don't care that much to delete it). anyways it will change your life go to disneyland.  it is magical. 
I have a challenge for you, sit in a rollie chair that spins in a circle, and don't let your feet touch the floor or the chair and try and spin in a circle..... not to brag or anything but i am actually a pro. i just look spastic doing it. i will send a video hopefully next week.  

so much to say and no time.  With different circumstances they have not been the typical weeks you would think of when you think of mission life, but i am trying really hard to not let it affect me and my happiness.  I am trying my best to do my best and be thankful for the different situations i am in and the things i am learning from them! it is amazing the things we can find to be grateful for even in the midst of trials.  I decided that we can either let challenges and blocks in our path trip us up and make us stumble and fall, or we can use them as stepping stones to become the person Heavenly Father wants us and needs us to become.  Everything happens for a reason and we just need to find out what we are supposed to learn, and how we can help others.  

Christmas time is a magical time.  I hope we can all try and look at others and find ways we can serve them.  The best cure for our own problems is to serve others and forget about ourselves.  

i love you! you guys are the best.  have a great week! thank you for the emails sorry i didn't get to respond.  i will next week i promiseeee.  glad you got home feom provo safely and had such a great time.  i wish i was there, but not bad enough to come home haha have a lovely week and i love you! rach 

ps the comments from adam were hilarious. i laughed. very. hard. thanks :)

Merry Christmas to all the missionaries in England!  Here's a mission conference photo of the London England Mission taken in the summer.  It's inspires me to see all these young adults dedicating their time to serving the Lord and His children.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

no pumpkin pies anywhere!!!!

You did send me that knock knock joke, but that is okay i still laughed at it again.  it is a clever one. did you make it up all by yourself Adam?? 

We sent Rachel one of Adam's favorite jokes, twice I guess (no, he did not make it up).  
Adam:  "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
Mom:  "I don't know, why?"
Adam:  "To get to the idiot's house."
Mom:  "hehe...I don't get it." 
 ...about 1 minute later ...
Adam:  "Knock, knock"
Mom:  "Who's there"
Adam:  "The Chicken". 
Mom:  "Oh... I get it."  
 dad doing doughnuts on Florida avenue isn't probably the safest thing to do.... ha i am glad you are safe.  way more exciting than anything that has happened to me this week.  perfect timing for mum to be driving by.  don't you love those little "coincidences".  Heavenly Father cares about the little details of our lives.   

i would love that stop smoking kit mum thank you! i also have a quick question, not related to smoking at all, but have you heard of cous cous..... because i have never heard of it before, but i am now addicted.  the ingredients and instructions and nutritional info are all in some strange language, so i was wondering if you could look it up for me and tell me what the heck i am eating -- at least one meal every day ha but you would be proud of me i eat it with tons of vegetables. honestly i am eating a lot healthier than i ever have, so relax! quit worrying. i promise i am not starving.  i could use a bit of starving, it would help me fit into my skirts better haha

On Tuesday to Wednesday we had an exchange. it wasn't really an exchange she just came to our area with us so we were in a trio.  Sister Hymas.  she is from my MTC group we rode over on the plane together and sat next to each other on the bus to the MTC, so it was really fun.  We were having a party that night, I find any excuse to have a party.  but sister coons wasn't feeling well so it was just us two.  we were hula hooping, yes we have those in our flat, and i was trying to do it on my arm raised in the air and it whacked the light and broke the bulb.  so when i was replacing it (it was complicated), i got my finger stuck in the metal circle around the bulb, but i didn't realise it was stuck and so at the exact moment that i was announcing my victory at having figured out how to screw in the bulb,  hopping off the chair and saying " man i am a genius" my finger ripped out of the metal part and the skin all on my finger got ripped off and started bleeding.  it was quite ironic.  but at this party i discovered 2 things.  A) i have been living in denial my whole life because i really do like quesadillas and i just always say i don't and i have no idea why, and B)  quesadillas and pasta sauce are REALLY Good together.  try it. 

oh and to make the switch for the exchange i got to go back to Watford..... that was trippy. it seemed like i was just there a few weeks ago, but it was about 8 months! ahhhh.... lucky i remembered my way around because everyone else was lost.    

oh and Wednesday it snowed no biggie. :(   and by snow i mean wind rain, hail, snow, everything all at once, i was quite impressed that the clouds could do that.  but since, it has been super clear skies, SUPER cold but really clear.  so no complaints if i can see the sun even if it is freezing i am happy.  but yes i guess it makes more sense that i buy warm gloves here instead of you buying them in southern ca.... but it is not as fun as unwrapping them, but i guess i will survive. oh just got some inspiration, i will wrap them and everything and write on the package that they are from you, and then i get to unwrap them! how is that?    

guess what? great news!  a senior missionary couple just moved into the ward, literally today, and they invited us over for a thanksgiving dinner on thursday. YAY!!!!!! without them i would have been thanksgivingless..... but my quest to find pumpkin pie is still to no avail.  but i will not give up hope. my confidence in myself making one though is very low, but maybe mum instead of sending me groceries just send me receipes of some thanksgiving food and i can try and make them.    

and transfers are 2 days after Christmas, and boxing day is the day we get to go to the chapel and watch disney movies all day, so i will probably be packing all night thursday night.  so maybe don't send the groceries until i get to my new place.  that would be nice, so i will give you the info and stuff when that comes around so don't worry about it for a while ya? 

this week i have been thinking a lot about charity and then BAM the lesson in church was about charity.  sometimes God just has to hit you in the face with things till you get them.  but an amazing scripture in the end of the Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:47-48  describes charity and how we can obtain it.    

 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.  

I love when it says that we must pray unto Heavenly Father and that He bestows charity upon us.  It isn't going to come just by one simple prayer.  pray with all the energy of my heart.  It was exactly like what you were talking about mum. it takes a lot of effort on our part.  We need to try and see the person as Heavenly Father sees them.  We need to look at the good qualities they have, and what we can learn from them.  everyone does something better than us that we can learn from and it is our job to find it and learn it, and love them.  also I thought that when we try and see God's love in our own lives, we can better love and show our love to others.  (Editor's note:  Italics and bolding are courtesy of me.  I like this idea!)

which is the same with gratitude..... when we look for the blessings He has given us, it becomes easier to see them.   thank you guys so much for the gratitude tree.  It has been a big hit. we have used it in the past few lessons.  one mum, Sister Favoretto, gave me the idea that when we fill it all up to send it back to you. so in a month or so i will send it back!
 it is amazing when we focus on the amazing things God has given us the infinite amount of things we find.  as we start off maybe begrudgingly listing them, our spirit changes and we become filled with the blessings He has given us.  even the little things like flowers, i smell every pretty flower i walk by... strange i know. and the sunsets and sunrises.  clouds, trees, crunchy leaves, and that is just nature!  I challenge everyone this week to say one gratitude prayer every day.  I can't remember if  I this is what I challenged you last week, and i am too lazy to go and look, so if i did I apologise; and keep doing it! but it really works and it really helps you to see Heavenly Father's hand in our lives, and in the little details of our lives. 

in two days it is interviews with President Jordan! ahhhh where I get rebuked for all the things I am doing wrong.  just kidding... i hope.  it is great though to learn from him and all his wisdom. i am looking forward to it.  also sister jordan makes her infamous brownies.  it should be a great day.  

well i love you guys so much! you really are the best. have a great week! and remember that I am so grateful for you everyday! love ya! rachel  

oh ps this is a talk i read that brad Wilcox gave to BYU a few years ago.  so good please read it!

Monday, November 18, 2013

don't know if i can call myself an american

i didn't know when thanksgiving was.... i didn't know if it was this week or next week.  don't worry figured it out.  but 

THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE!!!!! it was great.  honestly perfect timing.  i needed a pick me up, and we got it this morning and it was so amazing.  I already ate all the chocolate, and put on my pillow case.  i love the thanksgiving turkeys and the gratitude tree. we will definitely use it with people and have them put gratitude leaves on the tree. It is funny because like i said last week, i have been thinking a lot about gratitude lately.  one thing i have been trying to do this week is every day say a gratitude prayer.  it is amazing --  especially when you are mad or feeling sad or something, it calms you down and gratitude and peace completely take over.  

Elder Ottoni and Elder Davis say thank you for the pillowcases. Elder Ottoni especially.  He said, "No one ever gets me things, tell her thank you so much."

Dad that chocolate almond marion berries creation thing sounds soooooooo delicious.... i tried to make a dessert creation the other day..... it was awful. i obviously didn't get your creative baking genes.  when i get home can you make that for me? mess and all, i don't care.  the english already look down on me because i don't use my utensils right, i cut things with my fork and use my fork in my right hand.... they use it in the left and turn it upside down and smash their peas and stuff on the back..... weird... i have tried to eat with my left hand, but i just end up spilling the food all over myself.  
Our family's most hilarious Disneyland picture.

mum good job on the!!! what about the rest of the family..... get on them! 

Adam i loved your part on the turkeys thank you so much!  and the picture mum sent from disneyland with just your eye showing behind Becca's arm.  Boy she always has to be the center of attention :) haha justtttt kiddinggggg Becca.  
Anyways how is school Adam?  Is it good? what would you like for Christmas?  It has to be small considering I am a broke missionary and it has to fly over the ocean..... but i love you! have a great week.  

Shout out to Grandma Chipman for her birthday this week! HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY! i will write a great poem and send it, but it probably won't get there until christmas.... i will write a line a week, and it won't be nearly as good as the ones you send. sorry! love you!   
so this email is fast, but this week has been pretty good. still just chugging along.  missions are crazy, you can go from such a happy high to such a rejected low in a matter of seconds, but the underlying foundation that makes me keep chugging along and just keep swimming, as dory so wisely puts it, is that I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and can bring happiness to everyone.  That Christ is my Savior and that He loves me. He knows exactly how I am feeling and is there to help me, and that through Him and His gospel I can return and live with Him and my Father in Heaven again. 
One man the other night on the doorstep asked us that, he asked what the heck we are doing, we aren't going to have any success, what makes us do this?  It was a great opportunity to bear my testimony to him, and to hopefully make him realize that I do this because I know it is true and it has brought me such happiness, that I want others to have this same true and everlasting happiness.  he may not have accepted it, but I hope now he knows that I know it, and I am going to work hard and work through the rejection for the chance that someone will find this same pure joy and purpose only the gospel can bring.  

I love you guys! i am so thankful for you! isn't Thansgiving a great time of the year, a time when we can focus all our thoughts on our blessings.... if only we could do this more throughout the whole year.  well have a great week!  love you! Rachel

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

might as well call me a st albanian

So I am here for another transfer! there is never any in between, either always moving, or never moving. and my companion and I are staying together as well.  First time of nothing changing..... problem with me is that I get bored quite easily, and so this will be strange having nothing new, but i think having Christmas will spice things up enough for me.  which did I mention that I am so excited for December so that I can start celebrating Christmas.  mum i must have gotten that from you, I refuse to start my celebrations this early! i try to explain to Elder Davis and Elder Ottoni that once I start the celebrations they are in full swing so if I started celebrating this early i would burn out by the start of December.  They still sing Christmas songs whenever they are leaving a message on our phone, or giving us a ride, just to try to get it stuck in my head.  It is cool because all 4 of us are staying for Christmas, so Boxing day is going to be the most funnest ( yes i just said funnest, it is going to be that fun that most fun does not cut it) day ever.  just watching disney movies all day and just relaxing and eating junk upon junk and did I mention we get to stay in our PJ's all day. ya you can tell why I am looking forward to it.  so ya.  

so many different things to say that i always get overwhelmed and don't want to say anything, but because i love you i guess i will just force myself.  
oh but before i forget! this is me chastening you out of love and challenging you to do something THIS WEEK! whether you do it for next family night or whenever i don't care, but i will be following up to see if you did it...... create profiles on  .  scroll to the bottom and click create a profile.  yes i know sometimes it is hard to think of what to say about yourself, and you feel a bit cheesy doing it... i don't care. do it. 

so this week has been a bit hard, my companion has been physically and emotionally sick, but President Jordan told me that during this time in my mission I am not called to focus really on investigators, but on my companion that really needs my help. hearing that helped me though because I was really stressing about not being able to focus and really concentrate on helping the people of St. Albans.  Obviously i know i need to do both, and these next 6 weeks will be good for me to work on doing that.  on learning how to work with all different abilities and talents and strengths and weaknesses.  

a view of the market.  it is that crazy twice a week.  it is PACKED.  cool things to buy, but hard to stop and talk to people because everyone gets mad behind you ha

One thing I am not happy about staying in St Albans is that the cobblestone pathways hate me.  The problem i have is that many of them are loose and so when it rains, water gets built up in the cracks and then when you step on the, hidden by leaves, unbalanced ones it is like a volcano of mud and water and leaves.... all over your legs, skirt, and shoes.  for those of you who have ever been to Legoland, there is that really cool water place where you jump on the circle and then in the fountain a lego musical instrument plays a note and water shoots up in the air,  (mum, rebecca I know you will know what I am talking about) anyways that is what it reminds me of. except instead of a musical note it is me shouting. and the great part is it only seems to happen to me.   and the other day i was even being extremely careful and paranoid, but of course the phone rings and i answer it, look up for one moment and the next step.... bam. oh well its fine, i am drenched anyways from the rain whats a little mud.  

I also have made a promise with myself that i will NEVER own an animal that sheds. lucky for me they are now doing the cutest goldendoodle puppies. we have been doing service at some houses and you could pretty much make a new cat or dog from all the hair that is everywhere. serious props to Sam and Pam for having the cleanest house and still having Velvet and Keystone.

did you know if you put an egg in the microwave it explodes.  it is so cool! try it.  i felt like i was doing a science experiment.  it made a few little pops and i thought that was the big explosion, i had my face really close to the microwave door and then BANG! big explosion, the door flew open hit my face and i feel on the ground.  so funny.
good job taking out the missionaries to dinner! go family.  
This lady in our ward is absolutely amazing.  she is 87, but she acts like she is 60.  she went rock climbing at San Gregorio at 71! so cool huh.  her trick.  dance aerobics.  so i decided i need to start getting not awful at dancing so i can do that later in life.   

an epiphany that i had this week walking in the rain is that one reason I would want to be a muslim is so i could wear one of those head wraps so i would never have to do my hair, and then when it rains it is like a umbrella for your head.        

Danielle is doing good. mum i shared the email part about how you had that impression to pray for her.  she absolutely loved it.  it really touched her that you would be thinking and praying for her without ever meeting her.  thanks for being the best! 
Dad that flag thing sounds really amazing.  i bet it was a neat experience.  (Picture & link to article below).

Click here to read the Article on the 1776 Flags in Town Square Park (Gibbel Park)
also i most definitely want to do solvang next year! please! hopefully by November i will be able to last for 50 miles. i doubt it but maybe my last area will be a biking area and then i would be set!

one cool thing that has happened these past few weeks is that this young man who before really didn't like or believe in church, who used to sit outside in the foyer for all the meetings has began to make some positive changes. It was crazy because the only thing we have done is talk to him.  I think he really just needed some friends.  his family is all members, but he said he never really believed or liked it or anything.  but 2 sundays ago he bore his testimony, and last sunday he gave a talk! he comes into all the meetings now, and has just started reading the Book of Mormon.  It is really cool to see him just growing and now participating.  makes me kick myself for how much of a bubble i was in back at school and back in high school unaware of people around me, but i promise that will never be me again!  

another thing that really opened my eyes was this past sacrament meeting.  there was a man who was speaking. he is a high counselor, a man that goes from congregation to congregation in the area speaking.  he was speaking very slowly and with difficulty.  he wasn't an amazing speaker, and I was trying really hard to concentrate on what he was saying and to learn and feel the spirit, but i was having difficulty.  I must admit that the thought crossed my mind why they have him going around speaking.  It wasn't until later that afternoon that I learned that he had had an accident a little bit ago on his bike, and he had been in the hospital with a brain injury for a while.  and that giving this talk was a great accomplishment, one that must have taken a lot of faith and courage on his part.  It really made me realise that we never know what has happened to others, and what they are going through.  we can never pass judgment on anyone.  So many people are in situations that we can never imagine or comprehend.  Many times it is just human nature to think judgmental thoughts, but we need to continuously try and push those thoughts out of our mind, and focus on the great things they are doing, and the things that we need to improve in ourselves. 

Funny that many things that i got sent this week in emails have been about gratitude.  It is something that has been on my mind this past week.  I was reading in Alma 24  .  It is about a group of people who had been recently converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They made a promise with Heavenly Father that they would never go to war again. Their enemies started to prepare to come against them to war.  the King of the converted people instead of complaining to God he turns to Him in complete gratitude. in vs 23 it says he praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword.  he showed gratitude for being taught the gospel of Christ; for helping them overcome many of their challenges; for helping them find peace, comfort, and guidance; and for the ability to repent.  Such a good example to me and for all of us!  in hard times we should not turn and complain but turn and show our gratitude!         

have a great week! i love you.  you are in my thoughts and prayers. you are seriously the best! no offense to other families, but you are the best one.  love you! rachel 
You can see a couple more new pictures in the Photos section.  Thanks for reading.  :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

another transfer here and gone and BAM before i know it i will be 80 yrs old....

So this is going to have to be short because during my email time I helped the old lady clean the building instead.  I know such a saint.... jk i just like vacuuming.  but I have come to love talking to slightly more experienced and wise people. (politest way I can think of to say older)  she served a family history mission in Salt Lake.  Apparently she is like a family history miracle worker.  It made me really want to start getting into it when I get back home.  If anyone hasn't done it, I highly recommend it.  go to and start!  
few cool stories I have heard this week:

One older couple wanted to serve a mission, but when they got their call to go to Florida, they really didn't want to go there.  And senior missionaries are allowed to write back and ask for a new call, so they did, and once again they got Florida.  They once again sent it back and once again they got Florida.  Finally they decided Heavenly Father really wanted them to go to Florida, so they should probably go.  When they went to look for accommodations there they found this lovely home with a basement for rent.  the landlord was a man with a big beard and he told them that for them it was free.  they said there was no way they could take it for free, they had the money and they would like to pay for it, but he insisted that for them it was free. turns out it was their long lost son who ran away when he was 16.  they didn't recognize him with the beard, but he recognized them!!!! amazing right! and yes dad don't be skeptical it is a true story! Just such a testimony to me that Heavenly Father calls us exactly where we are needed, even if we don't understand.  

next cool story is about this missionary here in our mission.  He is from China in a little town in the middle of no where.  He told us his conversion story.  A few of his friends families were members of the church and introduced it to him.  However in China you are not allowed to be taught, so he flew to Hong Kong, was taught all the lessons and all about the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ in one day, and was baptised that same day.  incredible huh. what an act of faith.  

So guess what I learned this week, Harry Potter lives in this area. way in the countryside somewhere in a huge mansion, but it is in our area.  my goal for this next week: find him and teach him. even though i don't really like him at all, how cool would it be to be able to say I taught him. good goal I know.  

dad that is pretty much cheating winning the 50 and over. you are barely 50! but i am so proud. but be careful! now that you are over 50 you are an older man, you can't do things like you used to when you were 49.  you must be a very fast skipper though to skip your way to the finish line from your pulled calf muscle.  way to leave it all on the field.  who needs to walk when you have the ability to brag about being first.  except, wait a second.... i just realised that if the 5K got postponed till January, were you the only ones running?? Is that how you all got 1st? man i am getting dumb. 

ya they say "h" here as Haych. and z as zed.... but one English term I refuse to say, I just learned it this week.... Swimming costume instead of swimming or bathing suit.... idk why but that one just weirds me out.   

adam it is good that mum didn't let you buy one, i am allergic to cats! luckily for me it seems about every single english person owns cats.  i have just gotten used to the itchy and red eyes.  i am glad you liked your whoopie cushion. when i was sending it the lady at the post office, asked what was inside it for customs. she looked at me really funny when i told her a whoopie cushion.  probably wondering why i was sending a whoopie cushion all the way to CA.  in my head i kept picturing the post man accidentally sitting on it and getting a surprise.  
McKay's Bear and Adam's cat pumpkins!  Funny how McKay's pumpkin was thinner so you could see the light through it -- I never thought of choosing a thin pumpkin before. 

the pictures of the carved pumpkins look so cool!!! i don't want to send mine now because in comparison it is pathetic.  only cool thing is i hallowed out the cheeks, so they would have been blushing if we ever had had the time to buy candles and a lighter and light them.... but if we had, it would have been really cool. 
 (Please send the picture anyway!  It'd be nice if you were in it, too!  It's been two months since we've seen pictures).

that is so cool that Jessica and Sandra had babies at the same time so they can grow up and be friendsssss. i know what you mean mum about looking at some little kids and feeling so sad because of the situations they are growing up in.  just makes our job even more important to share the gospel with everyone.  

i am currently reading in Alma. and go read alma 17. that chapter is such an amazing one about missionary work and sharing the gospel.  two scriptures that i really liked from the chapter are  11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.
this one is kinda self explanatory.  i love how it says to show forth good examples.  in today's world, there are such few morals and values that as we stand for what we know to be right we will stand out and be able to share this knowledge that gives us such comfort peace and purpose.  

 Now these are the circumstances which attended them in their journeyings, for they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much alabor in the spirit.
This one may seem strange to like, but I like it because these men are some of the greatest missionaries ever.  and this scripture shows that they also faced the same trials i am facing.  some days they were exhausted some days they were discouraged, some days it was really hard, but it was all worth it and they were able to push forward with Heavenly Father's help. 

you guys are the absolute best. halloween here was pretty non-existent.  we were at a members house and got a lift home from them, and as we drove we saw people trick or treating.  the elders came by and went trick or treating at our house on the way home, but they gave us candy... ha bit backwards but i wasn't complaining.  

sister coons has been sick the past couple days so it has been a pretty slow week, i have gone a bit stir crazy, but that is okay.  as the scripture says you can't walk faster than you have strength!  can't believe it is moves week already, but i don't think sister coons or i are moving, because President Jordan told the zone leaders that he likes sister coons and i together.  Idk why i think i am killing her, but hey that is okay. it would be cool to stay here for Christmas because then I would know everyone, and us and the elders get along really well so on Boxing day, the day after Christmas, it would be really fun because we get to go to the chapel in our PJ's and watch disney movies allllll dayyyyy. i can't wait haha but i love you guys so much! you truly are the best family ever.  thanks for everything. you always bring a smile to my face.  always know exactly what i need to hear.  have a great week!! love ya! rachel