Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

Dear Family and Friends,

I am working on being more positive. This week was kind of hard but pretty awesome too! We saw a lot of miracles that aren't really showing in our numbers for the week. We had 3 less actives come to church, including a young woman who could be the key to reactivating her entire family and getting them finally to the temple. That was really exciting to have her at church! We also had two young adult women who showed up at the church during the branch time. They want to learn how to play the organ. They ended up talking to a member during the second hour about the church culture/organs/ our religion. Then they came with us to Relief Society. We gave them book of Mormons and they are going to come to the baptism on Noche Blanca, (Spanish for White Night, it is the baptism that will take place on Christmas Eve). They are also going to use our organ with Sister Bohman helping them. Who knew learning to play the organ could get someone interesting in our church. Though I guess if teaching English works for some missionaries I guess learning to teach Organ could work here in JC!

I have really come to appreciate and love CHRISTmas so much more this year. As different and sometimes hard as it has been this year being away from family for Christmas this has been one of the best Christmas seasons I have ever had. Why? Because without the world playing it X-mas tune all around me I have been able to see so clearly how Christmas is about Christ. Everything points back to Christ. I don't know if any of you have picked this out, (and if you did I am guessing you are a missionary and have been privileged to see He is the Gift a least a hundred times); in the beginning shots of the video where it is showing the craziness of the Christmas season every single shot has something that is red in it! I am not joking, go watch it again and see if you notice it! Red is the color most connected with Christ, so my interpretation is that Christ is in everything we do at Christmas. My challenge to you is to make sure in the last few days of the wonderful season remember who this season is really about! 

Merry Christmas!
Sister Blood
The Branch and Spanish Elders with Santa

Branch Christmas party -Sister Palmer, Santa, and Sister Blood

FHE last Monday, The Elders and Santa

Monday, December 15, 2014

50 Degrees and still no snow

Dear Family and Friends,

 Good Afternoon to ya'll! Its been a nice, very un-December like week here in Kansas! According to the car thermometer it was in the 70s yesterday, though with the cold north wind it felt more like 50. There is just something wrong with being in ,the middle of December and not having to wear a jacket or a coat outside. I really want snow, but most Kansans don't like the snow very much. It just goes to show that I really am a Utah born and raised kind of person. 

The cool miracle of the week was that we had 4 Sisters come to church yesterday who don't usually come! It made it completely worth the 30 miles we used driving to Wakefield to see one of them Saturday since that was the last thing she needed to get her to come to church the next day! 

The Branch has been doing a good job of trying to reach out and serve the Ortega family. The Ortega's friends have told us and other friends of their's, how impressed they have been with how the church has reached out to the family and done service for them (like the cleaning of the house, and repainting the bathroom). I am very grateful for what they did, especially with it being Christmas time and people are really busy. 

Here are some pictures of the tree as promised!

Love Sister Blood

Sister Blood & Sister Palmer, their little tree

Sister Palmer, Trimming the Tree

Gifts and Beautiful Little Tree

Monday, December 8, 2014

This was a pretty long week

Dear Family and Friends,

This was a pretty long week, and I don't remember what we did for most of it... typical.

We were able to go and see Adrian and Rachael in Manhattan. They looked pretty weighted down, which was hard to see since they are usually so happy and funny. Thank you for the prayers for their family, they help. We had some awesome members in the Branch who stepped up and volunteered to help with cleaning their house and repainting the bathroom. We, well mostly I, was really stressed about it, but they were amazing at being willing to help out this new family. 

On a positive note, after 5 weeks of coughing and mucous, three different doctors in 2 different towns... I was finally told what I have that is making me sick, and it's not Kansas Crud. I have a sinus infection! Yay! I am happy to finally be on medication that is clearing it up even though I am still not up to full strength I am happy that I am getting a little bit better every day! 

We have a new investigator that the Branch Elders handed over to us that is pretty nice. Her name is Emily/Emma. She is really nice and was really excited to come to church yesterday. There was a pretty intense moment when she decided to bare her testimony, I didn't need to worry, she did a great job. It is one of the more interesting parts of covering two different wards is seeing how different the two services can be in the same area.

Another fun part of this week was how our apartment is starting to look like Christmas! Sister Palmer's mother sent her an itty bitty 9 inch tree ( almost a foot including the base) with ornament. That plus the lights we found in the closet are helping to make our place look like Christmas! I actually forgot my camera today so I will have to send pictures next week. 

Love to all, Sister Blood

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sad news of our Resent Convert

Dear Family and Friends,

This is not the weekly letter I was expecting to write today, I feel kind of numb and am not sure what to say so it will probably be short.

Our Recent Convert Leigh committed suicide this morning. This is a really hard time for their family so please keep them in your prayers that they will find comfort in the Saviors love and that we as a Branch will be able to pull together and help them know they are loved and that there was a divine reason they were baptized as a family just weeks before this tragedy struck. 

On a positive note my new companion Sister Palmer is awesome and I am really excited for this upcoming transfer!

If you haven't yet seen the new video by the church YOU NEED TO! The website is   . Watch the video, share it and then follow the council of the prophets to discover, embrace, and share the gift this Christmas season! It's going to be an amazing Christmas 2014! 

Love you all,

Sister Blood  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 45! Strangest week of my life

Dear Family and Friends,

This was without a doubt the weirdest week I think I have had on my mission. Tuesday through Friday was "packed" as sister Howell described it. A good chunk of Tuesday and Friday was spent packing and weighing Sister Howell's luggage to make sure it wasn't overweight and that we were able to get everything in it that needed to go home. Then on Friday we met the Sister Training Leaders in Abilene and carpooled with them to Wichita. We were late, so instead of dropping them off at the mission office we dropped them off at the mission home. It was kind of eerie driving to Wichita because there was some crazy fog from Junction all the way to Wichita (which is a 2.5 hour drive). 
Since I lost my companion and so did Sister Payton they stuck us together in Salina. It is really weird being in an area other than your own for more than a day. I am honestly homesick for JC, I can't wait to go back tomorrow after we pick up my new companion Sister Palmer. I don't know anything about her other then the fact she came out 3 transfers ago. I am sure it's going to be awesome and we are going to totally rock it in Junction this next transfer! 

Sister Howell and I got the sillies on the Way to Wichita and took some pretty entertaining pictures. I included a few of my favorites. I loved being companions with Sister Howell and feel pretty privileged to be her last companion. When I die I hope I can die as well as she did. I swear she didn't get trunky, even the day she went home she wasn't trunky. I don't know how she did it, but I want to be like her someday! :)

Have a wonderful week!

     Sister Blood :D  

Silly Pictures with Sister Howell, last day

Monday, November 17, 2014

“How great shall be our joy in the Celestial Kingdom, if we bring one soul unto Christ”

Dear Friends and Family,                                                           11-17-14

I don't know how life can get much better than this past weekend! I am so grateful we were able to have the miracle filled week that we did for Sister Howell's last full week in Kansas. I remember thinking that our three months together was going to be a long time, but now here I am at the end looking back wondering how it went so fast! I am incredibly grateful she was my companion, I was correct in feeling I would learn a lot from her our second transfer together. Sister Howell, RaCail, and Jenaya have become the greatest friends I have had in a long time. When we felt the need to have RaCail be Jenaya's fellowship, I don't think we had any idea how close the four of us would become. The scripture that states “how great shall be our joy in the Celestial Kingdom if we bring one soul unto Christ” and are able to be with them in the Celestial Kingdom, has become very real to me, especially with Jenaya. I can't imagine being there without her and her family as well. Seeing 4 people become members of Christ's true church yesterday was one of the most amazing things of my life. I really believe this past weekend was an experience that will have changed my entire life. There really is something to be said about being someone's "missionary" and being privileged to have a front row seat to how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. These changes are really and truly what our entire life is really all about. Without them we would never make it back to our Father in Heaven. I love this Gospel, and I love being a missionary of Jesus Christ!

This weekend was so packed; by last night I thought I was going to fall asleep during dessert at a Members house! Friday was a party at the church as Adrian, Leigh, and Rachel, plus Jenaya came to have their baptismal interviews and to fill out their baptismal forms. They all passed their interviews, which was good! Then on Saturday we had Jenaya's baptism and sadly her husband didn't come. She was irritated about that and was really missing her father who passed away a couple years back. It was about time to start and she was sad and nervous, Elder Wilson and the Zone Leaders came and talked with her and us and they offered to give her a blessing which she accepted. The blessing given in the peace of the chapel was beautiful. After she calmly and excitedly got changed and was ready for her life to change! She was irritated Elder McKeller didn't have to wear the "ugly jumpsuit" she did, but we thought she looked great in it!

After the baptism she was so happy, she couldn't stop smiling and laughing she was so happy! She seemed to just glow! RaCail, and Jenaya went with Sister Howell and I to lunch at IHop to celebrate and we got some delicious hot chocolate (which was our 3rd time this week getting hot chocolate... I feel a tradition beginning). After lunch Jenaya and RaCail came with us to visit some Less Active members. Yup, that's the way we do it in JC!

Sunday was just as amazing and crazy! Jenaya was so nervous to go in front of the entire congregation and be confirmed, but she hid her nervousness well! The blessing was beautiful, and she came back with the biggest smile! After Church was the baptism for Adrian, Leigh, and Rachael. It was so cool! Jenaya stayed for a picture of all of them together, all 4 of those who became members of Christ Church on November 16. The baptism went well, and it was so cool to see how much all three of them have changed and grown closer as a family as we taught them. We really just got to catch the end of the process since the Wells have been sharing with them for months. Families who bring their friends into the church are the best! It makes our job as missionaries so much easier and we get to share the joy with those families as well! I couldn't have asked for a better week! 

Love you all!
Thanks for all the prayers in my behalf and on behalf of those we have and will continue to teach! 

~Sister Blood 

                              Hot Chocolate at IHOP
Jenaya & Sister Howell

Sister Blood & RaCail

RaCail, Sister Blood, Jenaya, Sister Howell

Sister Blood, Sister Howell, Jenaya, Elder McKeller

Sister Blood, Sister Howell,  Leigh, Adrian, Rachael, and Bro Wells 

Adrian, Rachael, Leigh, Jenaya, Sister Blood, Sister Howell

Monday, November 10, 2014

Preparing for Baptisms like crazy!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been great with lots of wonderful weather! 

The bulk of the week has been teaching and preparing for Baptisms like crazy! Trusting no complications come up we should be having a family of three be baptized along with Jenaya! It has been so cool working with all of these people. All are working really hard to make sure they can be baptized before Sister Howell leaves for home. I can't believe I only have around 11 days left with my wonderful companion! I am going to miss her so much!

Funnest part of the week was playing tag football as a zone on last p-day. After playing and doing pretty well at catching and running I suddenly am beginning to understand why people like football! As long as the guys you are playing with will pass you the football it is actually a lot of fun to play! Who would have ever guessed! The downside is that Sister Howell and I were really sore for the first few days after, apparently we don't get enough exercise walking places.

love you all!

Sister Blood :)

Junction City Zone

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween this Year Was Pretty Cool

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was pretty good! It started out a little bit rough, but with some divine help we were able to pull though and end the week successfully! The weeks continue to fly by which is kind of a relief after they dragged by during September. It really is interesting how as you work harder time goes faster, so the harder you work because you want to make use of all the time you can because you see how fast it is flying by!
This weekend was Stake Conference up here, and it was by far the smallest Stake Conference I have ever been to in my entire life. Only a third of the Stake goes to the Stake  Center because they broadcast it to the other two buildings in Junction City and Manhattan. Our Stake is huge geographically. It takes 3.5 hours to drive from one side of it to the other side. 

Halloween this year was pretty cool, not as fun as being able to actually dress up, but still fun! I think the best costumes at the combined ward and branch Trunk or Treat was. 1. The family that dressed up as Candy Land Characters, 2 Anubis, Egyptian God of Funerals, 3. One of the Pregnant sisters of the Branch, who dressed up as a whale with a felt Jonas on her tummy. Oh how Halloween is fun! We helped RaCail decorate her trunk and hand out candy which was fun. We even were forced to take a bunch home with us that were left overs! So that combined with the fun packages I got the last few weeks makes for a very "sweet" Halloween on my mission!

A member told us about this video yesterday when we were at dinner with them and I decided that it would be cool to share. I really enjoyed the perspective they put on it, and how they explained it so clearly. I know sometimes I get weirded out when people asked us about garments and I have no idea how to respond. 

Other fun things from the week, we heart/candy attacked Jenaya's door.
And enjoyed the many colors of Fall! 

Love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Blood :)

We heart/candy attacked Jenaya's door

 The family that dressed up as Candy Land Characters

Monday, October 27, 2014

Awesome Sauce and Cool Beans = MIRACLES!

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry this is shorter, I forgot I hadn't finished it until now when I am almost done with e-mailing... oops!

This WEEK was AWESOME! There is a lot to be said for choosing to be happy and work hard. Miracles happen and we get to taste what it feels like to have Heavenly Father backing us %100!

Earlier this week we decided we wanted to do something for Jenaya because she has been sick, so I got the brilliant idea to take our vacuum to her house and vacuum it since they don't have a vacuum yet. It was awesome to have her open the door look at us, look at the vacuum and then say. "What is That." 
"Our Vacuum, we came to Vacuum your house since we love you, you are sick, and you don't have a vacuum!" She let us in and let us clean all the while shaking her head saying "you guys are crazy!"

Yesterday we were talking to our investigators Sean and Josephina and we told them how we had vacuumed her floors and how after the office lady saw us and had a "panic moment" when she saw the vacuum thinking we were soliciting it. They told us they actually had an extra vacuum someone had given them and they asked us if we wanted to take it and give it to her! I was in totally shock and I couldn't quite believe it! We will be giving it to Jenaya later today and I can't wait! It really is so cool to see moments when you recognize there are still really good people in the world today! 

Like I said this week was amazing but sadly I don't have time to share more of the many miracles we saw this week. Love you all and thanks for all the love and support I got this week! I haven't gotten this many letters and packages since I was in training! You're all the best!

Sister Blood, the 1st :)

Fall in Milford

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 40! Half Way!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was good with the usual up and downs of missionary life! We didn't have a lot of success finding new investigators but we did have some awesome lessons with Jenaya. She didn't make it to church which was sad, but Adrian, Leigh, and Rachel came again! Adrian, Leigh, and Rachel also came to the Spanish baptismal service which was awesome! Adrian speaks a little Spanish so he got a lot more out of the talks then we did since we don't understand Spanish. Best part about when the Spanish branch has a baptism... they always have lots of good food after! Haha just kidding, the best part is that they have another soul who has come unto Christ in their branch!

Yesterday in church during Relief Society we talked about prayer and the sister teaching in the branch shared this awesome video from Mormon Channel so I decided I wanted to share it! We all made our own "I pray" Signs so I included a picture of me with mine! I am challenging you to make your own I pray sign and post it and/or the Mormon Channel video on your Facebook; and send me a picture.

Perks of being in the Bible Belt, you get things like the 10 commandments posted outside of the City Building! We decided it was a must to take a picture with it :)

We got to go to Manhattan Wednesday to do some service with the bishops storehouse and we drove by Kansas State. I must say I think they have the coolest looking football stadium I have seen so far! 

All of the English Speaking Missionaries in JC at FHE up on Post. 

The Kansas State Institute building, it's an old home that was donated to the church and then converted into the institute building :)

So in the mission world your trainer is your Mother if you are a sister and your Father if you are an Elder. For Sisters your "Dad" is your first District Leader, and for Elders your "mom" is the mission age oldest Sister in your First District.I ended up being the oldest mission age Sister while Elder Mitchell was being trained so he is my first "son". Haha, so we took a family picture. He is in the middle and the Elder on the far left is Elder Boman his trainer. Missions are funny, especially when you make faces!  

Love you all!
Sister Blood

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rain, Miracles, and Military

Dear Family and Friends,

Jenaya is progressing fabulously! We introduced her to family search this past week and she loved it. The coolest moment was when after almost an hour and having not found anything yet we ran across her grandfathers draft record from WWI. This spirit was so strong as she read out loud the information on the record I am positive some of her family where there and may have had a part in leading her to find that record, which lead to her finding many others. Her heart was softened, which was great because she is quite the coffee drinker (She was drinking between 2-3 POTS a day), and we had to break it to her about the word of wisdom; but she took it really well and actually quite her coffee and tea the next day after she told us she was going to go home and drink 6 pots that night (friday) before she had to stop on Saturday
. I am pretty sure she wasn't entirely joking, luckily her husband was home and wouldn't let her drink that much. He was pretty irritated when he found out she had 4 pots one day last week when he was at work, that is roughly 40+ cups of coffee, to say she was hyper is an understatement. 
After Church when she was talking to the Branch Presidents wife after she told her she was hoping to be baptized in the next few weeks! Another miracle was how many people, especially sisters, in the Branch came up and talked to her during church and told her how excited they were to see her back! She commented her first week how surprised she was how few people talked to her the first week she came, which is why it was such a miracle the branch sisters reached out to her so much. Testimony Meeting was fun, it was interesting to have to explain to her why their are children in sacrament meeting, the churches she has attended in the past all had childcare so just the adults went to the sermon. She was really surprised when I told her that even primary children will bear their testimonies, then 6 or 7 primary kids in a row got up and bore really sweet testimonies. As surprised as she was at first I think they really touched her heart too! Miracles are happening in JC! 

Another really cool experience this week also happened while we were on Family Search with Jenaya, I got on to my tree to show her how you can include pictures, I went to my Great Grandfathers Royal Oscar Heiner and clicked on a picture I hadn't seen on their before, on the back of the old picture was the note. "Taken in Kansas City MO, While on an LDS Mission." That was so neat to realize my grandfather served a mission in roughly the same area I am serving! It really helped me to feel even more connected to my ancestors! Turning hearts in both directions, thank you Elijah!  

Love you all!

Playing with Balloons
The awesome-ness that is the Junction City District
Elder Boman, Sister Boman, Sister Howell, Me, Elder Lorado, Elder Jacobson, Elder Carlson, Elder Bohman (the District Leader), Elder Hulse, Elder Mitchell.

We all were supposed to wear Yellow... I don't own yellow so it was decided my hair was "yellow".

Another zoo picture

"Thanks so much for the Ball! It was fun and odd to come home one day and find it sitting outside our door. I had no idea you could send balls in the mail! "  Ball Sent to Sister Blood from Harmonie Wheeler

Monday, October 6, 2014

Conference was AMAZING!

Dear Family and Friends,

Sorry this is going to be a really short one, I am not sure what to write about, haha. 

Conference was AMAZING! I was so excited when Elder Bednar started speaking, as soon as he said he was directing his message to non-members I was literally bouncing up and down because I was hoping and expecting him to share the story about his two little boys. He shared it with the Derby Stake back in March and I loved it so much I have shared it multiple times with people here in JC since they obviously weren't in Derby. We had three investigators come to the last session with their back door neighbor which was awesome! They had come to church a few months ago but their neighbor had gotten busy and hadn't invited them back again, then we happened to tract into them earlier in the week (we chose to knock on their door because it was completely dark and they had a well lit porch). We invited them to conference and to let us come back again, he didn't have his schedule but said he would talk to his back door neighbor about coming to church, and they actually did! 
We also passed a Less Active member who just moved from AZ. We were walking opposite directions and we tried to say hi but they didn't respond, we got about 15 feet apart and Ikea (the LA) spun around and yelled to us, "Are you guys Mormon?!" We said yes. She was really excited and really surprised to hear we had a church building "clear out here". She gave us her info and we were able to stop by and see her yesterday. She is awesome, she moved to JC to start over and is very excited to get back into Church. God is aware of us all. Even if we aren't aware of the fact his restored church is all over the world. We are never completely out of it's influence! 

We went to the Zoo last Monday with Jenaya and RaCail, it was a blast. Little Zoos are a lot of fun! 

Love you All!

Sister Blood 

We went to the Zoo last Monday with Jenaya and RaCail 

Little Zoos are a lot of fun! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sacrifice of Military Families

Dear Family and Friends,

Well there isn't a whole lot to report for this week. The mission is still going good, the military is still moving people in and out of our ward, and a bunch of the fathers in our ward are about to be deployed. As missionaries we aren't supposed to discuss politics but it is interesting how being here in JC I have learned more about the current state of war than I did all the years before I came out. The difference being, for the first time in my life I finally understand how much of a sacrifice these military families actually make to serve our country. They part at each deployment not knowing if they will meet again in this life, and then they find strength in the Atonement and their temple marriages. Sad to admit, I didn't think much about the military before I left on my mission, but I know that my view has been changed forever by these families that I have had the opportunity to serve. 

Urgent: I need your help! I need you all (well those who are in Utah and already guaranteed to have the movie in your areas) to go and request that it come to Manhattan Kansas. I believe the zip codes are 67202/03 but I could be wrong so double check before you enter it :) That would be a huge help because we really want the movie to come to Kansas!

Huge news of the week. We found out our mission The Kansas Wichita Mission, is the top baptizing mission in the North American Missions! Now before you wonder how we beat the Utah missions I will explain. The North American Missions don't include those on the East Coast/ Side or those on the West. It does include the more Central US missions, Idaho, and Canada! This is a huge miracle because a year ago we were lucky to break 30 a month, last month we got 61 and this month our mission wide goal is 75. Then 85 in Oct, 95 in Nov, and finally 100 in December! We are really growing our faith and being as diligent as we can. Please keep us in your prayers that we might be able to find all of those people who will be counted among those found in the next few months. They aren't numbers each number represents someone who is found and brought to Christ!

Love you all!
Sister Blood 

 Elder Hulse and Elder Carlson, they have their suits on inside out in case you were wondering 

Look who I got to see! My "Mom" Sister McDermott

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cop gets pass a long card

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow this week had so much happen in it, I can't believe it was only last Sunday we meant our new investigator Jenaya (Jenni). Since then we have taught her lessons 1 & 2, she came to church and had a small church tour. She told us that she is really beginning to feel and believe that our message is true and that it is what she needs to help her heal from some of the trials from her past! We are so excited! You hear stories about finding insanely prepared people but I didn't think I would find one on my mission! Most the members thought she was already a member who had moved here because she dresses so modestly, she has basically the same dress standards as the Sister Missionaries do, and she adds a lot of really good insightful comments to the lessons, which is so awesome! She really is our miracle of the week, I can't believe how fast she is learning and accepting what we are teaching her, she really has been so prepared, it's not even funny!

On Saturday when we were teaching her the Plan of Salvation there was this really crazy moment when in the middle of the lesson she said "guys I have a confession..." Our minds were racing, thinking she was going to tell us she actually wasn't interested and that she had just been stringing us along... "I am actually starting to believe you guys." We freaked out and couldn't stop smiling, neither could she. She said she hadn't had as many "lightbulb" moments this close together about religion as she had during our lesson. In her prayer she thanked Heavenly Father for sending us to teacher her and "blow [her] mind", and that this was the closest religion she had hear to her own beliefs. It was so amazing!

A really cool part of our first lesson with her for me was towards the end she voiced her concern about what would happen when she let her family know that she was starting to look into the Mormon religion and that this was the path she was going to start taking. I felt so strongly the need to share a bit of Sister McCarrick's story, how she had joined the church and had her family react not to kindly and after she finally started to mend those relationships she felt impressed to go on a mission. And how unexpectedly she had been told it was time for her to go home but she had already seen some miracles in her family with their heart softening a little bit. The spirit was so strong and when I finished she thanked me and told me how much she needed to hear Sister McCarrick's story. So even though my Amazing Companion isn't here in JC her story and testimony are still touching people here and helping them to find hope and strength to continue to press on! 

Hailey's baptism went so well, there were a lot of the YW that came to support her. She has been going to YW for over a year and a half and is now finally an official member! She even decided on her own to invite a good friend from school who isn't a member! It really is so cool to see how much she has changed in just a month! Being a missionary is AWESOME!

Oh wow, another story from the week, on our way home from dinner on Tuesday we were driving with a member and they got pulled over because one of their headlights was out. When the Cop came back to give the driver his licence the member gave him a pass along card and told him to check it out! That may have been the craziest way I have even given away a card.

Love you all!
Sister Blood :)

Are Deacons  Allowed to Drive?

Hailey's Baptism

Sister Blood with pet Cockatoo

Monday, September 15, 2014

See a view that will take our breath away!

Dear Family and Friends,

This was a bit of an interesting and very long week. It feels like last p-day was two or three weeks ago. The week started out really hard but I was able to make a 180 degree change on Friday. Sister Dean shared a quote with me from a successful swimmer when he was asked what the key was to his success. He said "I kick when I don't want to kick, I stroke when I don't want to stroke." I can't even count how many times I said it this week. It really helped to keep me going this week when I really wanted to stop. And because we kept going we had an awesome miracle last night. We were on a team up with Sister Medina trying some of the possible Part member families in our branch. We knocked on a door and found out that the members had moved but we ended up talking to the very young military couple that lived there for over an hour. The wife grew up in a cult and her family got out when she was 13. She loves Christianity and has been wanting to find a church to go to. She had a really good family friend, who was an elderly gentlemen who was a member, when she was 13-16 who would bring her a copy of the ensign every month and told her about our church and his beliefs. Her parents forbid her from going to any church after their experience in the cult they had finally gotten out of, so she said reading the Ensigns was her "church" every week. She is now on date and is really excited to come to church. The more she talked to us and asked us questions about our beliefs the more excited she became. She is meant to be Mormon! 
Even though this time on a mission is incredibly hard, and sometimes very overwhelming it is 100% worth it. There will be moments like last night when we found Jenni, and moments when you see someone you have worked with for a long time make it to baptism that make all of the hard times worth it. Life is the same way, some days, weeks, and even months or years will feel so hard and like the hardship will never end, but they will. Be of good cheer and as President Uchtdorf said last conference (paraphrased) "be grateful in your hardships and don't wait for the rainbow to thank God for the rain!" When we are going through trials we can often be like someone climbing a hill, we look down out our feet staring at all of the hard boulders and rocks that are in our path, we look ahead and see a long road ahead of us that filled with obstacles along our road. We know there will be a beautiful view when we get to the top but sometimes we wonder if it will really be worth the pain of climbing. As we climb we can either be angry and bitter at how hard the things in our path are to get over, or we can look at how beautiful the trees are around us and take note of how interesting some of the things we come across are even if it is something we have to figure out how to get over. We can take heart in knowing we can look back and share with others how amazing and massive that bolder we had to get over was and how it strengthen us! Then with out even knowing it we will break through the tree line and see a view that will take our breath away!
When we are in the middle of trials it feels like that is all we will ever know, but even when we feel like we have stopped moving we just have to keep going. As Carie Thompson likes to say, "keep turtle-ing upward". We are moving forward and closer to the top of our climb, even if it feels like we have stopped. And when we really do get stuck Christ is there to help us out of the mud, or over the rocks that are too big to climb. Take heart, he isn't there just when you need help with what you can't do on your own, he is there with you every single step, he walks and climbs beside you. He is always there talking to you and encouraging you to keep going. He has climbed this hill before and he knows the best route. He is our Savior and our Older Brother. He loves us more than we can imagine. This I know with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Love you all
Sister Blood    

Hills and Trees in Junction City

Are these sunsets for real? 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Sister McCarrick

Dear Family and Friends,

This was probably the hardest week of my mission, and possibly my life! Saying Goodbye to Sister McCarrick was really rough, as proof by the fact I actually cried... a lot! My companions and the people I serve around tease me about the fact I never cry. But I did when I said goodbye to Sister McCarrick, shows how much praying for charity and the ability to help someone can change you! Being Sister McCarrick's companion was honestly one of the best experiences I have had on my mission, it is 6 weeks where I was able to grow and really understand how Christ loves us each individually! 
Other than transfers, and becoming companions with the Awesome Sister Howell (I don't have a picture, but I did take a picture with her and send home clear back in February); this week consisted of getting sick. Apparently there is this random bug going around which has had a huge outbreak in Kansas and Missouri. It was not fun being down for more than half the week, but I am on the mend now! And I wasn't surprised  I got sick since this now makes 5 or 6 years in a row of being sick the week of Labor Day. 

That sums up the week,

Love you all, and thanks for the prayers you send Heaven ward for the sake of the missionaries!

~Sister Blood :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Biggest Roller Coaster of My Mission

 Dear Family and Friends,

This letter is really long, just so ya know. This week has been the biggest roller coaster of my mission, possibly my entire life. Really it all boils down to what happened Friday.

We had been able to set up a time for our investigator Lavida to be interviewed by our mission president in hopes that we would be able to move her baptism date forward from February to November. She ended up having a funeral in Manhattan and was going to be cutting it really close, to when she was supposed to be at the church for her appointment, with President Bell, at noon. We had been stressing since the night before re-arranging things with the schedule with her and the APs to make sure it was going to work out. But much to our relief she was on time. She went into the interview and then after what felt like a very long time she came out in tears with President Bell and he said, "She is getting baptized next Saturday!" our reaction was thus "Wait, is this a joke?" "Are you serious?!" 
We were so excited and were talking to her about it and realized that since transfers were this week Elder Hamblin, who played a huge part in her conversion, would miss her baptism, and she wanted him to be the one to baptize her. So we ran to grab President Bell before he left, to see if we could move the baptism. He told us we could do it the next day, or Sunday after Church. We decided to do it Sunday, which thus put into the works an amazing baptism. 
The baptism was amazing! She has been investigating for 4 months a lot of the branch knows her and many people stayed after to support her! She was so happy after she came out of the water.  She was crying because she felt so happy and loved! And then when she was confirmed she had a great feeling of peace come over her that she told us excitedly Monday hadn't left her yet! I know it meant so much to Sister McCarrick to be here with her when she was baptized since they found Lavida in her first transfer here.

That was the joyful part of the week, but Friday also was really hard. Sister McCarrick has been the greatest example of endurance and trusting in God. Her family has been very unsupportive of her as she has been on her mission. (She is a convert to the Church, and the only member in her family). So she asked President Bell if she could meet with him on Friday when he came up to interview Lavida. She was expecting to get advice on how to continue to cope and help her family, feel more at peace with her decision to be serving a mission. So it was a huge shock when President Bell told her that the feeling he was getting was that she was supposed to go home. She told him she didn't want to go home. And so he counseled her to call home that evening and then pray about what she was supposed to do. 
By a huge miracle the Sister Training Leaders felt that we should have a second exchange with them and that one of them would spend the day with us in a tri-pansionship, and the other would be in Manhattan with the University Sisters. Even though she was struggling with the decision she had to make, Sister McCarrick still followed through with our plan to have two splits. Which means one of us would stay with Sister Roquemore (our STL) and the other would go out with a member of the ward or branch their our companion. I went out with Sister Medina in the morning, and she went with Sister Wells in the afternoon. We taught a ton of lessons and found three new investigators! 
I had been feeling sick all day and had been getting worse progressively all day Friday. I felt like the area in my abdomen was going to kill me because of how much pain I was in. By the time we all went back to the church and the other STL Sister Dean joined us so that Sister McCarrick could call home.  I was in so much pain I was lying on a pew trying to not breath, because of how much it hurt. The Branch President and his Counselor were there and gave me a blessing of healing. Then sister Dean took me back to the apartment while Sister Roquemore stayed with Sister McCarrick, while she called home. Blessings really work, two hours later my pain had left, just in time for Sister McCarrick to return to the apartment after talking to her family.
After talking with them and them telling her to come home, she said she would call them back when she decided. She prayed and read her scriptures and then went and told Sister Roquemore that she was staying. Sister Roquemore talked to her about it and asked if Heavenly Father was there would she go home, and would she listen if it was just a quite voice telling her she needed to return home. They talked more and Sister McCarrick finally said, " I think I need to go home" and with those words she finally felt peace that she has not felt in months. 
Watching her listen to Heavenly Father and accept what He needed her to do, even though it wasn't what she wanted or wasn't expecting has been a HUGE learning experience for me and I feel very privileged to have been her companion for this last transfer. I have cried more in the last three weeks than the rest of my mission combined. I don't want to let her go because I know she has a hard road to walk, especially for the next few months, but I KNOW that she is doing God's will because I have felt peace and comfort as has President Bell, Sister Roquemore, and Sister Dean. This is Gods work, and his plan. She listened to him that she needed to come on a mission, and she is listening to him now as he tells her she has finished the mission he needed her to do and has another plan in mind for her! I love her so much and cannot express how privileged I feel to have been her companion!

Love you all 
Sister Blood  
Elder Hamblin & Lavida

Lavida & Sister McCarrick

 Sister Blood, Lavida, Elder Hamblin, & Sister McCarrick
Sister Blood, "True Kansas Wichita Missionary"