It was like He was carrying me

Monday, January 6, 2014
Howdy!  (I never say that.  But Dear all was getting old)
Wow what a week.  So let’s get the bummer news outta the way.  Before we even got to teach the family of 6, the mother texted us cancelling and she made it sound like it was for good.  We are going to check up on her later this week and see what was going on.  It was definitely disappointing and yet horribly typical.  It wasn’t exactly surprising.  BUT we try not to dwell on it.  Do I still see it as a miracle?  Absolutely.  Satan just got in the way the obnoxious creep.
Moving on to bigger and better things though.  I had a really difficult time this week (surprise surprise)  BUT  it was also amazing.  There were a lot of days spent crying to myself and praying my heart out.  And like He always does, Heavenly Father pulled through.  Pulled me through.
This week I focused a lot on submitting my will to the Lord.  I felt like a lot of my weaknesses were being exposed not only to myself, but to everyone else it seemed.  I felt kind of worthless, but I did my best to just work on them and submit to the Lord.  As I did this, I can say with all honesty that Heavenly Father was there.  The past few days it was like He was carrying me.
Guys, the Lord lives.  He really does.  Heavenly Father loves us sooooo much.  With all my heart I testify that when we give it our all, it will never be enough…but He always makes it enough.  He really does carry us.  He helps us do things we couldn’t on our own and we can experience that over and over and over again.  He WANTS us to progress forward, to take the steps that will strengthen our faith, and by doing so we can feel the burning in our hearts that says that God’s power and mercy is real.  Oooh my goodness I don’t know how much more passionately I can say it, but I love Him!  He is in every single aspect of our lives.
Love you all!  thank you for praying for me.
Love,
~Sis O’Donnell~
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Ridiculous Amounts of Cookies and War Chapters

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Dear fantastic children of God,
Mmm where to start?  This is where my mind goes completely blank about what in the world happened this past week….  Uhhh…  Oh!  Okay, well yesterday we spent the entire day helping a lady move (remember it was P-day yesterday…so we were being GOOD missionaries, not bad ones, promise!) and little did we know that we would get like four boxes of food as our reward!  Our cupboards, fridge, and freezer are officially stuffed full to the poin that it’s overwhelming to decide what to eat at each meal.  But that’s not a bad thing hahaha.  Well actually it definitely could be a bad thing.  Talk about the need for self control…do you realize how many cookies we have in our apartment??  It’s ridiculous.  Anyway.
So one thing that is super awesome that I’m only just now realizing is how much we can gain from the war chapters in The Book of Mormon.  That’s always been kind of difficult for me to try to apply to myself but lately as I’ve really put in the effort, there are so many beautiful treasures contained within those random war details that aren’t actually random at all.  I think the main thing that I’m learning is that there are sooo many instances where the Lord could have made things easier for them by giving them what they wanted but He doesn’t, and instead He gives them a miracle, or a chance for them to exercise their faith, or an incredible growing opportunity that they would’t have had if the Lord gave them what they originally wanted.  It just testifies to me that even when we pray for things that to us makes perfect sesne and would be very idealic, the Lord truly does know best and whatever He decides is for our benefit.  It’s just so incredible!!
Well, that’s about all the time I’ve got but I hope everyone has an absolutely fabulous week!!!
Love,
Sis O’Donnell

“Prayer becomes your best friend.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Dear All,
 
Transfers!  So my comp Sis. Munn got transferred leaving me behind 😦  It was a pretty sad day when we parted.  We had a lot of fun together and had incredible experiences.  The day of transfers (yesterday) was probably the most insane day of my life.  My new comp Sis. Walter was coming from the Gila Valley and didn’t get here until 4:30pm.  So I just tagged along with some other sisters the whole day and got absolutely nothing done that we normally get done on Pday (shopping, emails, cleaning etc..)  Along with that, our mission president’s wife decided she wants her bikes back (she had lent two of them to us to use) so all of a sudden I now have to buy a bike, but try to arrange it with other sisters who have  a car, but they don’t have a bike rack so I also have to arrange it with the Elders who DO have a bike rack, and a billion and twelve other things happened to make yesterday the most complicated and stressful day of my life.  I think the hardest part though has been the fact that I’ve been sick since Sunday with a really bad fever/worst headache of my life.  AKA I have the flu.  The funny part is that our Mission president’s wife (Sis Killpack) said that I needed fluids, tylenol, and rest.  Yeah…no one gets rest in a biking area.  In addition to that my stomach has been upset so eating has been limited for me. SOOOOOOOooooooo to put it in a nutshell, physically I have been absolutely miserable.  OH YEAH and I lost my planner yesterday too to add to the stress of everything.  Luckily some other sisters found it this morning so now I actually know what appointments we have haha.  That’s always nice to know.  For real it was a miracle though that they found it and very much an answer to a desperate prayer.
 
Well, enough of that rant.  My new companion Sis Walter is awesome.  I love her to death already.  She is SOOO upbeat and positive and absolutely LOVES the mission.  She’s a Sister Trainer Leader so that means exchanges every week! Yaaayy!!  She’s an absolute sweetheart though and I can already tell that things are just going to be super duper uper awesome possom! 
 
Well anyway, life goes on in the mission field.  Good things are still happening and all in all prayer becomes your best friend. 
 
I love you all so very very much.  I’m so blessed for all the support and prayers that are sent my way.  More coming to you!
 
Love,
Sis O’Donnell

Precious Souls, Calloused Toes, Barf Plate?

Monday, October 7, 2013
Dear All,
Sorry about the no email last week.  We had to take a survey and it took FOREVER!!
First I want to start off with an incredible woman.  Her name is Sandy.  I might have mentioned her before but just in case, we started doing bible studies with her and her Less Active friend Heather.  We would incorporate the Book of Mormon now and then and we finally invited her to church.  She accepted the invite.  We also invited her to the General Relief Society Broadcast and she LOVED it!  We gave her a church tour of the building and showed her the baptismal font.  We talked a little bit about it and she said, “I’ve been thinking about baptism a lot lately.  I’d really love to get baptized.”  She called of afterward bc we hadn’t set up a return appointment yet and asked when we could start the lessons haha.  We felt chastened.
So THEN we started the lessons and the first lesson we talked about the Restoration and Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon etc and before we even told her to, she just said, “Oh I need to read the Book of Mormon and find out if it’s true!”  Let me just say that this woman has felt the Spirit SO many times already and she can recognize it more than I can.  Our next appointment with her we talked about the Plan of Salvation and we asked her if she had been reading the Book of Mormon and how she felt about it.  She said, “You know, I’ve been reading it and I get that same feeling that I get when you all come over and when I go to church and everything.  It’s the same feeling and it feels so good!  But God just hasn’t told me yet if it’s true.  But it’s funny because somehow I feel like it is already.”  GOLDEN!  We explained that that WAS her answer from the Lord through the Holy Ghost.  I cannot TELL you how incredible she is.  She’s definitely not a fast learner of the mind, and she might even have some mental challenges (very slight) but I have never met anyone to recognize the Spirit and follow it with such faithfulness as she does.  It’s incredible.  I truly feel honored to be the means of bringing this precious soul the truth.  She is very very very special and it just testifies to me that you don’t have to be the most talented individual, the smartest, brightest, quickest, physically fit, beautiful, individual to learn the most important skill that anyone on this earth can learn.  How to recognize the Spirit and follow it with exactness.  She’s an example to me.
She’s basically the highlight of our missionary work right now.
OH!  So Conference was pretty much AMAZING!!  If you haven’t seen all of it WATCH IT!!  Your soul will be filled 🙂
So here’s some pictures to sum up the past few weeks..
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check out those toes!  am  I proud of these feet?  Yes I am.  Are those callouses on the TOP of my feet?  Yes.  Yes, they are.
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This native american woman we are working with (less active) made me and my comp some earrings!  Cool fact. Native Americans purposely make a mistake in everything they make to remind them that no one is perfect.
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Somehow, I can just see Cailin cracking up about this…  but don’t worry, me and three other sisters were dying for about twenty minutes.  I think things just get a lot funnier the longer you’re out here…

Miracles are Happening

Tuesday, September 17
Dear All,

Sooooo I did NOT get transferred!!  Sis. Munn and I are staying together for another six weeks at least and we are both pretty relieved because we have a LOT of stuff going on here and so much potential that is just waiting to BURST!!!!  And miracles are happening 😀  So a less active named Cecelia hasn’t been to church in YEARS because she couldn’t handle the thought of going without her husband who is also less active.  Her biggest goal and greatest wish is to be sealed in the Temple to him though but she just wouldn’t come to church without him.  After weeks of meeting with her and praying for her though she told us one day after we committed her to come to church that she had thought about going on her own instead of just waiting for him to come with her.  BAM!! Miracle.  She has been twice in a row now and we’re soo happy!  Another adorable less active named Nina has also been coming to church.  It’s soooo SATISFYING!!

There is also a lot of potential with the investigators that we are working with.  They just have to read the Book of Mormon!!!  Gah!!!  But it’s okay. Once they do and pray and get their answer…I have a feeling that it will just be golden from there.  Besides the fact that they need to quit smoking… ha.  Yep.

So yeah anyway, I’m super excited about this transfer even though the natural part of me just hates being in the same place for that long but I truly just want to help these people.  Also, there’s been a TON of changes in teh Elders in our zone so we lost our district leader for one, and a ton of new Elders are coming in this transfer and we now will have two sets of elders in our ward along with us sisters.  So…. six missionaries hahahah woo!!!!  It’ll be fun!!  Sis. Munn  and I will just have to learn how to share I guess…. ;D
So other than that there’s not much going on except that we are SO stoked for General Conference!!!!!!  I hear that it’s better than Christmas in the mission field hahahaha
Well, things are just going super super awesome so thank you all for your prayers and thoughts and letters and emails and pictures and EVERYTHING you do!  Life is just so beautiful!
~sis O’Donnell~

“…We know that we made some kind of difference…”

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Pretty fantastic week, not gonna lie.
Okay, so we FINALLY got some new people to teach!! YYYAYYYY!!!  So first off, when we were doing our planning one night, we were tryng to think of back ups if an appointment canceled so we just said we would visit some Less Actives.  We ended planning and I was saying the prayer but I felt like I really needed to actually pick some names.  So I ended the prayer kind of quickly and just picked some names, like five.  The next day we had like a half an hour before we had to be home at 9 and so I picked a Less Active to see out of the list I’d made the night before and we went.  Well, the Less Active wasn’t there, in fact she had moved.  However, there was a man named Eric there who lived with his fiancee and her kids and they were just talking a few days ago about how they wanted to find a church and that they thought it was super important for their family.  HEHE!! yay!!  We were…very excited to hear that.  We have since started teaching them both and hopefully get their children involved.  They have both promised to keep open minds and to do the things that we ask.  In fact Eric is well versed in the New Testament so some things he’s really not used to and has a hard time with, BUT he said the main thing that is keeping him open to us right now is how the joy that he could sense that Sister Munn and I had.  Wow.  Super Testimony strengthening!  He even came by himself to Sacrament meeting this Sunday which…I’ll be honest, wasn’t the best day for him to come.  I urge everyone to remember what a Testimony is, especially when they go to the pulpit to express it.  But yeah anyway, they’re pretty darn awesome!!
Also, we got a new guy to teach from a referral from the Bishop who told us to visit a part member family.  The wife is a member, the husband not.  They just moved here and we had our first lesson with him Sunday night.  It went SO well, and the Spirit was SO strong!  As we shared Joseph Smith’s experience with him, he just had this change of countenance it seemed.  It was incredible..  He’s been taught the lessons by elders multiple time so he’s heard it all before, but I think the Spirit really touched him.  Now, I have no clue how things will go from here (we have a lesson with him tonight) but at least we know that we made some kind of difference, regardless of when it actually clicks with him.
That’s one thing I’m realizing.  Talking to everyone is SO important, because you never know what role you will have in their conversion experience.  You might plant the seed, you might help the seed grow and nourish it, you might save the seed, and you might harvest it.  You just never know!
Also. Yesterday Sis. Munn and I got dipped cones from McDonald’s.  I had her holding mine while I was driving and of course it started melting and dripping on her.  So what was her natural reaction?  To LICK my precious ice cream cone that I’d been craving for WEEKS now.  Yes, she licked my cone multiple times as it dripped.  Now don’t get me wrong, She did the most natural and understandable thing to do, but for someone who hates saliva (aka ME) I was slightly horrified and told her I’d rather have her just eat mine.  She looked at me like I was from an unknown planet and made it clear that she would NOT eat two ice cream cones and that I had better eat it or bad things would follow…
I ate the stinkin cone.  BLACH!!!  Let me just say, I was not happy, so don’t any of you think that I’ve started to overcome my dislike of saliva because I haven’t.  But she’s very proud of herself and now that I think about it it’s kind of funny. I just thought I would let you know the horrors of my missionary life as well as the good 😉
In all seriousness though, Heavenly Father has blessed me abundantly with my companion Sis. Munn.  I’m learning SO much from her and we have a lot of fun together hahaha.
Well, I love the Gospel, I LOVE missionary work and more than anything I just love the Lord.  He has helped me soo much every single day to get over the hard times.  I’m so grateful for all the prayers and letters that I’ve been receiving from all of you wonderful people, and the support you give is just incredible.  GAH I JUST LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!!  Even when things seem awful, just around the corner (or river bend…whichever you prefer) is a great blessing that Heavenly Father is waiting for you to work for so He can give it to you.  His timing is so perfect with everything and He truly is in the very smallest of details in our lives.  What an INCREDIBLE gift we have been given!!
I love you all so much!
Love,
Me