Monday, March 31, 2014

Beginning of Biking Adventures

Dear Family and Friends,
This week marked the beginning of the biking adventures. My District Leader, Elder DeFreeze is still recovering from knee surgery so he willingly let me use his bike. I am grateful I have long legs since the bike is not a women's frame. It actually works pretty well, now... The seat was too high for the first few days and when I was sitting on the seat the tip of my toes barely touched the ground. But we got the seat lowered and now it works well! I am actually really enjoying biking, though on really windy days I am reminded of my brother Eric and his determination to keep riding as long as he was moving. Sometimes the wind is so strong we are inching along against the 50+ MPH wind gusts, it's pretty epic to be sure... especially in skirts. I have learned drivers here are A LOT more courteous to bikers than Utah drivers. Not that it's surprising, people in Kansas tend to be very courteous anyways, which we really appreciate as missionaries.
We had exchanges again this week, and I spent the time in Bel Aire again, this time with Sister Murry. It was fun and I learned from her. But sadly there were no crazy stories to tell... well unless you were Sister McDermott and Sister Runia in Harrison Park. Then you got all sorts of crazy stories some involving fleas and crazy investigators who are moving but won't tell you where...
The Women's General Broadcast was amazing to say the least! It was weird not watching it with my family, but I felt their love and comfort at knowing that they were feeling the same spirit I was at that moment! I am SO grateful for modern day prophet's and apostles who guide us. My challenge to all of you is to go to conference this year with a question or three written down that you have prayfully decided on and with a willingness to learn. If you go with a question I promise you will get an answer and so much more out of conference!
I love you all a ton,
yours ever,
Sister Blood (the one and only!)
                                           P.S. There's really nothing like the Kansas Sky

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Helping Maria

First off, It's going to be really short today since I don't have a lot of time.
The Lord has a sense of humor, of that I am sure. He rebuked me for joking about gaining weight from all the wonderful meals ( we were fed 10 times this last week) and has given us the wonderful opportunity to bike every other week. That should prove interesting to say the least.
My Companions recent convert who was baptized at the end of December passed away unexpectedly this week. She had 11 of her 12 children survive her, 2 of which are minors. It's been really hard on Sister McDermott because of how close she was to Shawnda so please keep her, and Shawnda's family in your prayers.

 On the fun side of the week. We spent time on two different days helping Maria take off wallpaper in her home! It was great fun and so nice to be able to serve, and wear pants for a little bit!


My favorite part of this week was having a transition lesson with the Spanish Branch Elders. They were taking over teaching a new investigator who only speaks moderate English. Wow the spirit was so strong and I had no idea what was even being said. The spirit really is an amazing thing!
I love you all so much!
Sister Blood
PS. The sunset the other day looked like the sun was going down behind mountains. It was a sweet gift from God. I love Kansas but I do miss the mountains from time to time!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hale the size of Raspberries

Greetings from Kansas!
Well there really isn't a whole lot to tell. Sister McDermott was pretty sick, so 3 days were spent inside studying while she slept off a pretty nasty virus. The miracle of that was that I somehow didn't get sick. Even though the Doctor said, "I was almost guaranteed to get it, since we are in such close quarters all the time". He is a member and saw us for free, which was another blessing! Having a few days of study made me really excited to get out and work hard the last three days of the week!
The Lord really blessed us since we found/were given FIVE new investigators, and one has already accepted a baptismal date! It will take her a while to get there though because she smokes and we believe also has some drug problems, but this gospel and the Atonement is for everyone!
On Saturday it seriously haled raspberry/grape size ice balls! It was totally AWSOME! We were at a members house and she had a lot of fun seeing us get so excited at the largest hale either of us have ever seen. She took some pictures for us then let us sweep her floors for her, since she is recovering from knee surgery. It was great, Hurray for people who actually let you do service for them!

 Hale the size of Raspberries

Maria was finally confirmed yesterday and it was such a neat experience! She hates crying but when she came back down to her seat and sat by Sister McDermott she was crying, quite a bit actually. She is so happy and is totally gung-ho about being a member. She even went and got a job for the sole reason of wanting an income that she could pay tithing on!  She is amazing and I am so grateful I have the chance to learn so much from her!
I am staying in Harrison Park for the next transfer so I get to keep working with her and the other amazing people in this area! Plus, I am sure I will continue to gain weight since in the 6 weeks I have been here I have yet to have a bad meal, every meal has been AMAZING and very much homemade... which leads back to the gaining weight. Now that it's warm (most days when it doesn't decide to drop from 70 to 30 degrees overnight) Sister McDermott and I are seriously going to have to consider running in the morning or we might just not fit our skirts anymore!
I love you all and thank you for your support!

Sister Blood

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bugs, Birds, and Bednar. Week 8

This week has been CRAZY! I don't even know where to really start honestly. How about in the middle of the week, that sounds like a great place!
Sister McDermott has been pretty sick this week, so pray I don't catch it!
Well on Tuesday night to Wednesday we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. I went to BelAire with Sister Beachert and Sister McDermott stayed in Harrison Park with Sister Murry. It was a really enjoyable to learn from them and get a change of scenery. Well anyway to the really exciting part of the story. So at around 8:30 AM, as we were having personal study I head from the small wood burning stove a sound I am familiar with from home, but really wasn't expecting to hear... the sound of talons and wings beating along the side of the shoot as the poor bird came down the shoot into the stove. Well we listened to it trying to get out but there was no way we were going to open the door and see if the shoot opened up into the stove or if there was a grate covering it. So after lunch when we came back to the house we could still hear it in there. So Sister Smith (the member who lives there and lets the BelAire sisters live in the basement) and I went down to see if we could get to it. She opened the door shown the flashlight in and said "well it looks like it doesn't connect with the shoot, poor thing there is no way to get to it."
"Really?" I looked in and sitting at the back on a ledge was a gray bird the same color as the stove. I freaked out and jumped back. I then calmly told Sister Smith what I saw and we then spent some time trying to get it ou,t but it took refuge in a corner so we decided it was time to call in people with longer arms. Thus comes in the question of how many Elders does it take to get a bird out a stove?

Elders retrieving the bird from the fireplace

Apparently 4. We called them and told them and Elder Kemplar who answered the phones reaction was "you have a bird... in your chimney..." and then Elder Hulse cut in "Text us your address we will be there in 5 minutes." So they arrived and Elder Hulse reached in and grabbed the bird. He carried upstairs, smiled for the camera, then we opened the door, and let it go. It flew to a tree and then attempted to shake all the soot out of it's feathers.
Elder Hulse ready to release the bird!

It was quite the adventure.
And now to the really big part of the weekend. Elder Bednar came to the Derby Stake for Stake conference. The Derby Stake is my area, so I got to hear him speak 4 times this past weekend. One of the times was on Friday at a missionary conference for just the Wichita missionaries. They brought in all 220+ missionaries for it. It was a lot of fun to be able to see Sister Schow and Sister Hafen again, Sister Hannah and I are in the same district but we haven't seen these two in 5 weeks. We were so happy to be together again.
For the mission session it was a question and answer kind of a deal. I felt strongly I was supposed to ask a question about women and their relation to the Priesthood and leadership. I felt it so strong, and I guess Elder Bednar felt the same way too because he called on me. I stood from where I was sitting smack in the middle of the chapel and talked to him. I was standing hearing his answer and responding to that answer and the subsequent that followed for 8-10 minutes. Not exaggerating here at all. I talked to an APOSTLE!!!! Can I just say, that may have been the longest most intense spiritual experience I have ever had! It really is no wonder to me now that Moses didn't have the strength to stand after being in the presence of the Lord. All I did was talk directly to one of his apostles for 10 minutes and I had a bit of a headache and was a bit tired after it. Why you may ask did I have a headache? Well I'm a bit weird, when I feel the spirit really strong I don't just feel it in my heart, I feel it in the front part of my head too. If the intensity is really strong it even effects my vision a little bit. When I was looking eye to eye with Elder Bednar for that long, it was definitely tunnel visioning a little bit, it was awesome. I  realized the power and spirit this man had, it still doesn't feel real looking back. There is so much he said and I wish I had the time to send it all back to you. But since I am short on time I will give you the top 5 things he said that touched my heart.
1. Don't let our North American way of thinking stop us from realizing what matters most, the spiritual things in life. Not being busy with "good things."
2. The Priesthood is NOT male, it doesn't belong to Men; they are just the ones who are asked to carry it.
3. The 15 men that make up the Apostles are as good and better than we think they are in private than as we perceive them to be in private
4. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real beings with Glorified bodies of flesh and Blood. The Savior Lives, the Tomb is Empty! The Holy Ghost is the third being of the Godhead, he is a spiritual being in the shape of a Man! Elder Bednar doesn't just believe these things, he testifies of them boldly with an insane amount of power and conviction!
 5. The Lords Work is hastening, we cannot stay caught up on our own, so we must repent of holding onto our "traditional" way of thinking.  The church can only function, and work to be part of the church that is coming forth. A Church that in 20 years or less will  have less than 50% of it's members that speak English.
 Are we willing and ready to embrace the new direction this church is going under the leadership of 15 called and set apart Prophets, Seers, and Revelators? I certainly pray that we are! This work is amazing, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know and love us all individually. I know this Gospel is true with all my heart! I have seen it change lives and I NEVER want to live a minutes (not even a day) without it.
Love you all
Sister Blood

Monday, March 3, 2014

Returning from Sister's Retreat
Katie, Sister Call, Maria, Sister McDermott

Greetings from the again frozen wasteland of Kansas!

Update on Zach, well he ended up not moving into the apartments he
originally thought so we got permission from President Bell to keep
teaching him! Such an awesome and humbling experience. One of the
less-active women in our ward agreed to go with us as our team up with
him which was HUGE. When we told a member of the bishopric he said "wait
let me get this right,  she hasn't been to church in over a year and she
agreed to go on team ups with you?!" It was great. And it was so cool to
hear her talk about the experience and reflect on the time she worked
for the area president in Germany back in the day, with a lot of
excitement and happiness that she hadn't shown when she talked about her
experiences before. In that lesson Zach mind blowing statement was "So
when can I be a teacher?" He is just barely getting to learn who Jesus
Christ is for the first time, and he already can't wait for his turn to
be able to share what he is learning with others. He is really excited
about how he can have the chance to teach in church, so ironic
considering most people hate to teach.

This was a week of meeting, after meeting, after meeting. We had members
of the 70, presidents interviews, specialized training with the
President and APs. Let's just say it wasn't as productive of a week as
we hoped. But on the super plus side... MARIA WAS BAPTIZED!!! She was so
excited the crazy thing is that church was canceled so she will have to
wait TWO WEEKS for her to be confirmed because we have Stake Conference next
week. Which I am super pumped and excited about and I can't tell you
exactly why until next week, let's just say this... I am SO blessed to
be in the Derby Stake/zone.

We got tired of being indoors because of the snow, so Sister McDermott
prayed about it and felt we should walk (since we weren't allowed to
drive in such bad weather) and try to get a hold of some Less-Actives.
Well we found out later it was 6 degrees and the wind chill put it below
-20. I was wearing three layers of tights and the cold still came
creeping in. I've never been so cold in my entire life, that I am sure
of. Sister McDermott has a better build for cold than I do, so the cold didn't
get to her near as much. It was cold enough that my fingers were frost
bitten and it was all I could do not to scream in pain as I tried to
warm them up. They finally warmed and today they are starting to feel
normal again! I am grateful for members who drove us home even though
the weather was so bad, and I am also grateful for Root Beer which was
drunken on an empty stomach as we were starting to defrost at a
part-members home (before we went to the active members home) which
helped get our blood sugar back up since we were fasting. Well at least
we showed we are dedicated to the work!

Love you all!!!
Sister Blood