Friday, December 27, 2013

Sister Missionary Photo Shoot

So I'm just sitting here (attempting to write my farewell talk, but its not happening) when my AWESOME sister-in-law sends me the pictures we took for my "sister missionary photo shoot"! (and the farewell talk goes out the wind!) Once again Lena exceeds all expectations and of course I am in love with ALL of the pictures! It also made me realize that I am seriously about to leave for my 18 month mission...WOAH! Time has seriously flown by, but I am just so ready. Well here are the pictures...and if you want to check out my sister-in-law's other photography here is here blog (You'll love her work, trust me)!! Now, time to get back to that farewell talk!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

God's Transcending Peace

I have this friend, who I am very close with and confide with him often. His name is Brandon Porter. He was a senior when I was a junior in high school, and we pretty much just came to be good friends, nothing special. Throughout the past few years we've listened to each others sorrows and joys. Sometimes we lose contact, but once one of us picks up the phone and gives the other a call, we pick right back up where we left off. This past Saturday we had another one of those "pick ups". Both of us have grown up and become better versions of ourselves than we were back in high school. I'm not saying that we were bad kids in high school, we just have a better understanding of things now. Right now he is going to school at the University of Memphis, he is also one of the baseball managers. Every so often he types out a spiritual thought and posts it on the baseball locker room's bulletin board, or if he believes it's an important one, he will print 32 copies and stick one in each players' locker. I must say that I really look up to him for that. It takes a lot of courage to share your beliefs, let alone openly talk about it to people you interact with daily. But the fear of being rejected by his peers or being thought as 'too spiritual" doesn't stop him. Porter is a great example to his peers and especially me.

Anyways, when we hung out he gave me two of his spiritual thoughts, and one really stuck out to me. It hit home so hard, I decided to share it.

    "I worry a lot. I stress out a lot. Heck, I would argue that I am probably borderline obsessive compulsive. When something is on my agenda, it takes all my energy and sometimes stresses me out to the point where it affect my mood. If there are obstacles to my pursuit f my daily goals, I am liable to have a quasi-panic attack. Fortunately, there are two things that help me overcome this. One is anxiety meds, the other is Philippians 4. Philippians 4 is a great asset to Christians when life just gets too overbearing.

    Philippians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.
    Transcends...what an amazing and powerful word! It literally means that God's peace surpasses anything that is seen as a stress reliever. In this highly volatile world where people are on the go and preoccupied with keep up with the Jones', doesn't it seem silly that we try extreme and puzzling methods to relieve the stresses of life, when really it is as simple as trusting that God's peace can overcome? Now I understand that it is easier said than done, for I am guilty of anxiety on multiple occasions every day. But I have to admit, trying to apply this chapter to my life has had an already positive impact on how I view school, baseball, and all my other responsibilities. So I encourage you to read these powerful words and to put your trust in God whenever life gets rough. For God's peace transcends everything. What is more eloquent than that?"

There isn't much I can say after was powerful enough. It's a good reminder that we need to put everything in God's hands and that we can always go to him when life gets tough. I'm grateful I got this from Porter, because those little reminders, that God's peace transcends everything, are always good to have.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Missionary News is the Best News

  Like every one else out there, you probably have a few friends that are out on their missions. I have 2 super close friends out on their missions right now. Both are actually going to Brazil, but have been reassigned stateside till their visas come in. They've been such a great example to me, constantly reminding me not to worry about getting my visa and if I get reassigned that it is where Heavenly Father needs me at the time.  Mondays have seriously been my favorite day, just because that's when I get to hear from my boys! Here are some snippets of their emails that were just to awesome not to share with everyone!

Here is last weeks email from Elder Carpenter:

"I was sick this week too!! except i have a funny story about it :), so my stomach wasnt feeling the hottest on Wednesday but i figured i could go to our investigators dinner.... bad decision about half way through i got super sick had to excuse myself to the bathroom and in the bathroom i said a prayer it was something like heavenly father please make it so i wont throw up but if i have to make it so it isnt noticeable to anyone else...... so i end up throwing up and freaking out not cause of that but because everyone else like 30ft away and could hear me so i clean myself up get the brocoli out of my nose.....(i dont wish that experience on anyone) go outside totally expecting everyone to be either to a smell the vomit or be mortified about what just happened, but my prayer was answered and no one had any idea my companion didnt even know until i told him in the car on the way home... so heavenly father answers even the oddest of prayers :) 

Ok so this is what happened this week.... so we are teaching and reading the scriptures with a guy who hasnt been going to church for over 40 years, but because he almost died has decided with all his heart that he needs the gospel of Jesus Christ in his life so hes been going to church and reading regularly, hes made huge improvements just from the 6 weeks ive known him, but heres the thing his wife wants nothing to do with it and this week we found out why..... so were sitting on the couch and they are on the one across from us and then out of no where she goes on a rant of how different her husband husband has been in the past 6 weeks and how it was the man she fell in love with... and then she went on to talk about their past life and they had it rough they both had had affairs on each other there were multiple times they thought of getting a divorce but stayed together solely for the children and how she hated the person he had become and all these just heart breaking horrible sad things that you wouldn't wish on anyone. And then she looked directly at me and goes but you elder carpenter I am so great full for the spirit you bring into this home i knew you were different when i first met you..

So after that i was thinking about it and its really cool the way that the gospel changes people for the better this couple says that they are the happiest they have ever been and that they are so glad they dont have to fight there demons anymore"

I met Elder Carpenter when I was at BYU-Hawaii. We were the best of friends and would often spend time at the beach or doing homework together. I got to really know him, but it is cool getting to know the spiritual side of Ty.

Here are some random pieces of Elder Nickell's emails:

"So all four of us Elders are in our apartment, listening to conference talks and such... For whatever reason I was in the our closet praying... And all the sudden the tornado horn (which is right next to our apartment) starts going off! I wish you could've seen these other Elders flip out. They thought they were dead for sure. They were running all around the apartment, asking me what to do because I'm from kentucky (I guess that means I know how to deal with tornados). It was hysterical... Maybe you just had to be there.

Oh man, Tornado scare number 2 this week. I just wish you could've seen these other missionaries running around like a bunch of babies. They were even worse than last time! It was hysterical. Elder worley, the other missionary going to Belem with me, was like "guys, seriously. Seriously. Seriously. We have got to go. I'm not joking!" Our investigator Chris offered for us to come to his house because he has a basement and we live on the second floor of our apartment complex. So they're all getting all there stuff together to leave while I'm studying portuguese. The rain was like literally going sideways as we were about to leave. But then we all knelt and I said a prayer, and I kid you not, the rains had totally stopped when we said amen. That made me feel pretty awesome. Haha!    (These totally made me laugh because I can just picture it all in my head)

Okay so we volunteer at this human services place each thursday, and we help people carry boxes of food to their cars. It's a sweet oppertunity to meet a lot of people! But this week Elder Hansen and I had a TOTAL MIRACLE! This lady walks in there and goes "Oh hey, the missionaries are here!" And none of us had any idea who she was because we know all the less actives on record. So it tuned out that she was a less active, who was baptized in the 1970's, and apparently knew Donny Osmond (I know, that's super random, but she said he helped in her conversion..:p) But then as we were walking out, she was like "Hey elder hansen, the missionary that taught and baptized me was named elder hansen too?" Then elder hansen told her how his uncle served in this mission 40 years ago.. Turns out it was the same guy!!! Roger Hansen baptized carol conroy 40 years ago. And now his nephue  Elder Nick Hansen will reactivate her. Isn't that insane!? Total miracle."

Elder Nickell's emails literally ooze with the his excitement he has! I love his strong Spirit and how he always sees the good in all things! Alex and I met at EFY like 3 years ago, and since then we've been long distance friends. We're becoming even better friends from sharing our testimonies and experiences each week. 

Oh, but the best thing I've gotten from Elder Nickell was a picture of a poem that another Elder, who is also a Brazil visa waiter, wrote for me! 
Elder Nickell and the Elder who wrote my poem! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cute and Easy Missionary Outfits

Slowly but surely my "Sister Missionary Wardrobe" is coming along! I have certain ideas in my head and until I find those tops or skirts, I won't buy anything else! But I had help, and boy did I need help! I asked a good friend, Shelby, to come shopping with me to help put together outfits. It went so good! And I walked out of the mall with a lot more bags than I normally do! Shelby seriously helped me learn how to put stuff together  and the best rule I learned was 'if you don't like it when you try it on, you won't like it at home'. That rule is so true, and I am sticking to it! Honestly, I don't think I would be this excited about shopping for my missionary wardrobe if it wren't for Shelby!

Here are a the outfits I have so far! We found the most prefect skirts from FOREVER21! It was seriously love at first sight for me! All the tops come from different stores, but I can use almost all the shirts for all three skirts...for a sister missionary that is ideal; having plenty of outfits without having a ton of clothes!! Oh and I'm in love with my Oxfords...I spent a bit of money on them, but they are EXTREMELY comfy which is a must!! 

Try not to laugh too hard at the awkward poses! lol!

How awesome is that? 3 Skirts, 9 shirts, and 15 different looks!!!

oops...I left out an outfit or two...but you get the idea!

Random Thoughts

This morning I was supposed to go to the temple, but my car refused to start. I decided I would come back inside and just read my scriptures a little. Then I got a feeling I should share my thoughts. 

Last Sunday was Fast Sunday. Usually I don't do a true fast (I know shame on me), but that is only because I get HORRIBLE migraines if I don't eat or drink water. However, since I'm preparing to be a missionary and all, I figured I should really fast this time and every time until I leave for my mission. So, on Sunday morning, I started my fast with a prayer. I decided to fast for my cousin Zach since he just entered the MTC a while ago. With that prayer in mind, I had my first, best experience with fasting! It amazed me how going about fasting the right way, will make the experience so much better. I sorta kicked myself for not doing it the right way sooner. 

I also went to the Spanish Branch for sacrament. I usually don't go because believe it or not, I can't speak or understand Spanish that well. But I was just so amazed at how many little kids went up and bore their testimonies! I might have not have been able to understand most of it, but you could feel the Spirit so strong. As little kids, they don't care much of what people think, and they'll openly and courageously bare their testimonies. Their testimonies are so pure! When we get older, we start getting worried about what people will say when we bare our testimonies or if we will say the right thing. But we need to be like those little kids and just go up there and let the Spirit guide our thoughts. I don't know why, but it just made me so happy seeing so many kids get up there.

For some awesomely good news..I'm all done with my shots!! I got the yellow fever, flu, and I started the typhoid pills yesterday! I practically ready to go to Brazil! On Monday, my mom, Aunt Nancy, and I had a great shopping day! I got the shoes I've been dreaming about, brown oxfords, and a lot more tops! My dearest Aunt Nancy got me the PERFECT sister missionary backpack, like I am in love!! I still need to get a few, I mean a lot, more skirts and tops, but I'm still excited about all the shopping! All this mission stuff has made me actually enjoy shopping...Since my MTC location was moved to Provo, I need to get a good winter coat and some thick know me, I'm not much of a cold weather person! 

Well, I'm going to try and start my car, so I can hopefully go to the temple!

Friday, November 1, 2013

6 Weeks in California

I'm finally back from a 6 week vacation in California!! 
And once again, I didn't update this blog once! I really need to get better at that!

Here is my vacations recap:

Weeks 1-3:

The main reason for my trip was to receive my endowments with with cousin Zach, who is also serving a mission, he gets to go to Brazil! On Saturday September 21, all of my family went to the Newport Beach Temple to be with Zach and I as we went through the temple for ourselves! It was one of the best experiences I have ever had! However, once we got out and started taking a bund of pictures, this couple told us congrats as if Zach and I had just gotten sealed! Eww! NO! We are future missionaries! After that day I was finally an official temple recommend holder and that means I can go into any temple! The next 2 week my mom and I went to the Los Angeles Temple and Redlands Temple together. Zach and his mom went with us to the San Diego temple too. Being able to go to all those temples with my mom was such a blessing and great experience, and I will never forget the feelings I had in each temple.

Weeks 4-6:

After my mom, dad, and Annie and her kids left, I stayed at Christie's place. If you guys know me, you know that Jaxon, Christie's youngest, and I are super close! I'm HIS Bobby! My last weeks consisted of a lot of Jax and Mikie time. Every morning I woke up at 5:45 to take Mikie to surf. Some mornings I watched him and others I ran. Watching Mikie is super hard! You literally have to keep your eyes on him the WHOLE time or you lose him for good!  You can't even try to lie to him and say you were watching because that kid will test you! But as the time went on, I got better at watching him and finding him if I lost him. After surfing was over, it was Jaxon time. Man, that kid is a ball of crazy, energetic, sneakiness! But I love him! Christie and I started potty training him, and he actually did really good! Only downside was that whenever I had to go to the bathroom, he would follow me and keep Bobby company. Christie and Mike even let me babysit Jax all alone for a whole weekend! And oh boy, was that a weekend! Every night Jax stayed up till 3 in the morning! He's more of a party animal than I was in college! In the end, the was one of the best weekends I have ever had and its awesome knowing that Christie and Mike trust me that much to leave Jax with me! Then, I got an awesome surprise visit from my best friend Joss! She initially came down for a concert, but got to spend 3 days with me! We went to 1,000 Steps Beach and explored this awesome cave, shopped around in Laguna and HB, and just hung out. I'm just glad I got to see her before I have to leave for my mission!! I also went to Universal Studios for the first time thanks to Zach and his mom! It was so fun and definitely like no other amusement park! Finally, the time came for Zach to leave for his mission. The Sunday before he left was a busy, busy day! In the morning we had his farewell, then his open house, later that night we went to set him apart, and finally ended the night when he got his patriarchal blessing. His whole family left the next day to take him up to Provo. The day I got home was his first official day in the MTC. So far Zach is doing great. He said he learned more Tongan in a week than he learned Spanish in two years! That's probably what happens when the Spirit is teaching you. I know Zach is going to be one of the best missionaries and the people of Tonga will be very blessed to have him. Sadly my vacation came to an end, and I had to say goodbye to my California family. I guess what made this goodbye so hard was the fact that I won't be able to see them for 20+ months and 18 of those months I can only communicate with them through letters and emails! But all will be well...I just hope they know I expect weekly letters and emails from them all!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This past month has been crazy busy!

First we had to rush around getting all the papers, signatures, and other stuff needed to get get my visa for Brazil. That required two, back to back 6 hour round trips to Nashville! I won't say the reason for going back a second time *cough daddy cough*, but in the end we sent all the paperwork off to Salt Lake. Now we're just waiting for my visa to come through. Lately they've been taking FOREVER to come through, but I believe a miracle can happen!

The day after our fun trips to Nashville, my mom, dad, and I were off to California! One of the main reasons for going was to go through the temple with my cousin, who is also going to be serving a mission. The other reason was just to be able to spend time with my family that I hadn't seen in years!

On Saturday September 21, 2013, was the day that my cousin, Zach, and I would receive our endowments in the Newport Beach Temple. Instead of being able to relax and enjoy the morning, I was rushed by my mom to hurry up and get ready. And who was the one and only ready to leave a good hour or two before the actual planned time? Me of course! So in the end I got to relax while everyone else rushed around. When it finally came time to leave, I was more than excited! It was one of the most amazing experiences I've gone through, and having my family there made it 1,000 times better! It was one of those days where you just smile to yourself and think 'man I'm glad I'm a member of the one and only true church'.

Since I'm finally a temple recommend holder, my mom and I went to every temple that was within a 2 hour radius from where we were staying. It was so fun and nice getting to spend that time with my mom. On our California temple adventures we traveled to the Los Angeles Temple, San Diego Temple, and the Redlands Temple! I think from now on, whenever I travel to I am going to try to go to the temple in that area!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Well, clearly I'm the worst at keeping up with my blog... sorry about that. However, most of the people keeping up with the blog follow me on Facebook and Instagram, so it's not like you missed anything!

In other news, I've decided to serve a mission!!!! Last Thursday, the 29th, I got my call to serve in the Campinas, Brazil Mission! Yep, I'll be going to BRAZIL!!!! I'll be leaving January 1st. Great way to start the new year right?! All I have to concentrate on is getting my visa,so I can go straight to the Brazil MTC, and a few other things. I'm so excited to be able to serve the Lord for 18 months in Brazil!

Get ready for my next journey!