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