Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!!!  This week was truly amazing!  The Lord is working so many miracles among us!!!!  After much prayer our mission reached 300 baptisms, our goal for this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We have great reason to rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for all those that have been touched by this glorious gospel!  This week was wonderful! 
On Monday we went caroling again at the hospital with a group of ward members and a potential investigator.  Sister Brandley and I took turns playing the piano and singing, which we both enjoyed a lot!!  I also tried my first brat and pasty this week.  They were delicious!
Christmas was wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  After volunteering at a community dinner for Christmas and meeting a potential investigator there, we went to dinner at an investigator's house.  It was a little gift to Sister Brandley and I that two of our other investigators also dropped by why we were there!  We were able to share a message with them and here about an experience one of them had with prayer.  The family we have been working with took a little road trip.  Unfortunately, their heater was not working and they all were really cold and sick.  They decided to say a prayer.  The heater still blew out cold air but they could feel warm air in the car surrounding them.  It is amazing to see their faith growing.  We had a lesson on the sacrament and the importance of church attendance.  They have not been at church for several weeks now because they have car troubles and there aren't very many members where they live that can take their whole family.   We arranged a ride for them with a member.  On Sunday morning the weather was bad and so the member let us know that she wasn't coming to church.  The family had expressed in our lesson their desire to come to church because the difference they saw it had on their week.  I was praying for them in my heart and about a quarter of the way into Sacrament meeting they walked in!!!  I'm so grateful that they were able to make it safely there!  They are starting to progress again! 
Also, I had the opportunity to play the organ in Sacrament meeting!  To my great relief, it went well :)
I'm grateful that I learned to play and that I was able to help out the ward here. 
I'm still staying warm and so grateful for all of our many blessings!!!!  The Savior's love is manifest to us in so many ways!  I hope you have a wonderful New Year's day!!!!!!!!!! Stay warm! ;)

Love you all so much!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 23rd, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a wonderful time of year to spread the joy of the gospel!   Christ is truly the light and life of the world and can bring peace to all those who diligently seek Him!  I am so grateful for the gift that He is to us this Christmas and for the opportunity to "declare glad tidings or great joy" even as the angels did at Christ's birth!  He is truly the reason for the season and can bring true joy to our lives!  We  are one baptism away from a goal for baptisms this year as a mission!  We are praying really hard for baptisms this week!! 
What a crazy week it has been!  On Monday our truck started acting really funny! I won't describe it just because of time but it was a blessing that we made it back to the Rayhorn's home before it wouldn't even start anymore.  We are so blessed to live with members!  I don't know how we would've taken care of the situation without them!  Well, they figured out the problem, it was a computer problem and now the truck is working great!  The truck is such a blessing for us and we are very grateful that it is working normally again!  I know the Lord is keeping us safe from the cold.  It has been warmer this week, in the 20's all week but still I have been so surprised that I haven't had any trouble at all staying warm.  The Lord is truly watching over us!
We have done a lot of caroling this week and are going again today at the hospital!  We went last week and I accompanied on the piano in the lobby.  I have had lots of chances to play the piano with our volunteering and service that we do and I love it!   I played at the Children's Museum as well!  I was a little concerned that I wouldn't play well at the hospital because I don't get to practice that often but I seemed to play better than I normally do and was able to sight read all the songs I was asked to play just fine.

Something really neat happened last night.  After dinner with the bishop, Sister Brandley and I decided to go visit a former investigators home who had stopped investigating because they talked to a preacher from another church about it.  We had stopped by before but she was never home.  When we got there, she opened the door for us before we even knocked and after we started talking with her she said she had something to show us.  She brought out a really old tattered looking Book of Mormon.  She opened the front cover and asked us to read it.  It was given to her great grandmother named, Alma, by some mormon missionaries in 1919!!!  She thought it was a great treasure and we talked about Jesus Christ's love for us.  We have a return appointment with her next week!!!  Well, I have to go now,  The church is sooooooooooooooooooooo  gloriously true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 16, 2013

What a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It seems to fly by so fast!!!!!!!!!  On Monday we taught the first part of the Plan of Salvation to one of our investigators who cannot have a baptismal date until next month, but he is so amazing!  We talked about God's plan for us and about the gift of agency.  He really valued that.  He has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying.  He said that he thought he wouldn't really like reading the Book of Mormon because he thought it would be hard to understand because it was hard for him to understand the Bible, but he is now in 1 Nephi 15 and likes reading it because it gives him a peaceful feeling.  My favorite part of the lesson was when we asked him if he had any questions and he said, "when can you come back?"  He has been reading everyday and coming to church every week!  He and his wife have been through SO much but they just keep moving forward with faith! 
We had 6 weeks training this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was a long drive to where the training was so we stayed the night half way with some other sisters in Manitowoc.  Then the next morning they drove us the rest of the way.  At the training I had a joyous reunion with my MTC companion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D  It was so exciting to be able to see her and how she is growing!!!!!!!!!! What an amazing example she is to me!  President Cutler and Sister Cutler are so wonderful and care for us  and the people we are teaching so much!  We did a lot of role playing! 
Then we stayed the night with the sister training leaders in Green Bay, who were going on exchanges with the other Green Bay sisters, the same night!
Friday was the ward Christmas party!  We encouraged all the ward members to invited their friends, and follow the bishops invitation in bringing someone to the Christmas party.  We ended up having 30 nonmembers/less actives come!!!!!!!!!!!!  I had a feeling before we left that I should bring my Christmas music with.  While we were there one of the sisters in the ward asked if I would play some background music while everyone was eating so I brought my piano music and got to play for awhile!  It was very nice!!!!  One of the families in the ward, the Comptons, acted out the 12 days of Christmas, and it was so funny!!  Also, the Primary acted out the nativity, and then they had a whole bunch of other musical numbers.  The  elders, Sister Brandley, and I sang "Come thou Font of Every Blessing"  while one of the recent converts accompanied us on the guitar.  It was beautiful and the Spirit was so strong.  We were so busy introducing ourselves to the friends that the wards members brought that we didn't even sit down to eat until we were home!  It was wonderful!  We are meeting with one of the non-members that was there tomorrow. 
Unfortunately, we did not get to meet with the Stockers this week because they were working overtime and weren't home.  Cherie is still sick too, so we are keeping her in our prayers.  We dropped off a little care package on her door step though. 
On Sunday my companion and I did 2 musical numbers in sacrament meeting.  I accompanied Sister Brandley while she sang a song her uncle had wrote, "Savior and Son" and then we sang "Mary's Lullabye"  with the young women.  I'm so grateful for music and for the spirit that it brings into our hearts.  I'm grateful for this Christmas season where we get to celebrate the Savior's birth and life.  What a joyful message we have to proclaim!  Merry Christmas!
Love you all so so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

The church is truly resplendesently true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

Greetings from the north.  The weather is certainly exciting here.  The beginning of this week it not only snowed but rained a lot too. This was not your usual rain, this was winter rain.  I don't know how that happened because it was below 32 degrees but it did and it created very thick ice on the streets.  I learned that it is easier just to slide everywhere than try to walk carefully on the ice, haha.  Because of this increase in ice on the streets a lot of our plans changed because things were cancelled like piano lessons, mutual, school, etc.  It has been a good week anyway though.  Many of our investigators are very sick though and have not been able to meet with us this week.  We visited three in the hospital this week, that all had heart problems, heart attack, or fluid around the heart.  They seemed to be improving quickly though.
On Monday we had a family night lesson with one of the families we are teaching.  We taught them about faith and the mom made "elephant ears" for family night treat.  The mom is continuing to read and seems really excited about baptism, yay!  She told us how she had talked to an old friend on facebook and found out that they too had converted to the church! 
We also met with our Chinese friends Shuang and Ming this week.  Ming is about 70 and doesn't know English very well but loves to try and read it with us and practice on us.  He wants us to teach him English.   Shuang is his daughter and knows English very well so she helps a lot.  They are leaving for China this week and sadly Ming will be staying.  Shuang will be coming back next month though.  They are both super excited to go back to see their family and eat their favorite Chinese foods.  Shuang cooked us really good potstickers again and we brought hot chocolate for her to try!  She said it was very sweet :) but it was a good winter treat to warm you up.    Anyway, they were both really sweet to us and asked if we would go teach in China, haha.  We explained to them that we were called to this mission so we could only teach in Wisconsin or Michigan where we were assigned.  Ming really wanted us to go to China and said we need to come and visit sometime :)  Sister Brandley and I will really miss them.  They truly prize the freedom to believe in Jesus Christ and choose their faith. 
Also, we had to take our truck in to the dealership this week because it was having some problems.  We hadn't had dinner yet so we took the shuttle to Culver's while it was getting fixed.  The shuttle driver was really nice and asked about what we were doing here as missionaries.  Well, we told her!  She said she was open to learning more so we gave her our number.  I hope she calls us because she left before we got her number.
Well, the biggest part of this week was....................
BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The Elders that we share this area with baptized Joe, who is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!  The faith and conviction that the young new converts in this ward have inspires me!  They are going through so much but they have so much faith.  May you all have a wonderful week!  I love you all! The church is superbly true!
-Sister Prestwich

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 1, 2013

     What a wonderful time to be a missionary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The Lord is preparing people and we have so many resources to use to learn about and preach the gospel! 
     This week was actual a little slower for us because so many people went out of town for Thanksgiving but it was still a really good week. 
     Thanksgiving was so good!  We ate a huge breakfast with the Lloyd Lee family  She made sticky buns, the same recipe my mom does!  It was quite the treat!  We also had French toast, waffles, sausages, eggs, fruit, and muffins!  I love breakfast!  Then we went to the Winns for Thanksgiving dinner at 3.  She made the green bean casserole that my mom sometimes makes.  It was great to enjoy two home favorites in one day! :) The investigator they invited didn't show up but we still had a good dinner and shared a message with them about Thanksgiving and missionary work.  We have been using Alma 26:37 as our Thanksgiving message to share with people.  A woman that wouldn't let us read with her before let us read that scripture with her and we talked about what we are grateful for.  At 6 we ate dessert with the Collins and the Carruths.  I was so stuffed!!!!!  It was so delicious though!  We had made turkey Thank you cards for some of our investigators and members that had invited us over for dinner.  It was a good Thanksgiving! 
     We met with a really sweet 98 year woman this week!  She definitely does not look 98 years old.  She is catholic and has a great love for the Savior.  We shared with her our Thanksgiving message from the Book of Mormon and talked to her about the Book of Mormon.  I'm sure she enjoyed our visit. 
     One of our investigators had an experience with the Holy Ghost and is reading the Book of Mormon.  His wife has such great faith and strengthens him so much.  It was really funny because when we got to their house to teach them the elders were already there, haha.  They had gone to visit a different person but the wife had seen them and invited them in saying that later the sisters were coming over to teach a lesson.  Well, we saw their car and insisted that they had to be at a different house but there they were when she invited us in.  They stayed a few minutes for the first part of our lesson on the Restoration and taught with us and then they left.  It was a neat lesson though, 4 missionaries for one investigator! 
    Our investigator family came to church yesterday!  We were so happy to see them because we didn't get to teach a lesson to them this week.  The majority of the  testimonies born were specifically on a few concerns that our investigator family had!  It just showed me how Heavenly Father truly does prompt members to bear their testimonies to help those in need.  He truly does love all of His children and wants to help them.  It was so powerful.  I am so excited for them!  God answers prayers :)
     I love you all this church is so true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
What a great week!  So I finally got to give piano lessons and it was the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We gave them at the church to a little girl and a little boy.  They are super cute and great learners.  We are teaching them out of the Alfred basic books that I taught out of at home but we only have one so they share it.  They are a little competitive about it now since they are using the same book, haha.  The brother really wants to be ahead of his sister in that piano book :)  It was so SO much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :D
We met with one of our investigators that was again interested in being baptized.  She had lost the fire for it for a long time but last time we met with her, she once again had the desire to be baptized.  We had another great lesson with her but heard some sad news.......they are moving to Kentucky in a couple of weeks!!!!!!!!!  I am sad she will be leaving!  I enjoyed seeing the light in her eyes when we would teach her. 
Sister Brandley is so wonderful!  She is really good with people and with the ward members.  She is a great example to me of serving others, especially your companion. :)  The other day we volunteered at the children's museum.  We got to take the turtles out of their homes!  We had the children and people there sit in a circle on the floor and we put the turtles in the middle.  It was super fun!  I can now say that I am pretty comfortable holding turtles. :)
We met with Cherie and her son Alan.  She is doing so awesome!  She has a hard time reading because of the small print and so we got her a large print Book of Mormon.  We set a baptismal date for her on February 1.  They are so serving and kind.  At the Relief Society activity, she stayed the whole time and helped cook and clean up.  She was one of the last ones to leave!  What a humble and kind person she is! 
Also, this week I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting.  We were super busy and I didn't actually organize my talk until Sunday morning.  I was asked to speak on missionary work and felt prompted to also talk about the love of God.  I am continually humbled at how marvelous and great God's love is for us.  He knows us by name and is always there to help us in times of need when we rely on Him. After I spoke I got to sing in the choir, "I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me."  It seemed to be the theme for the day because in Relief Society the lesson was on loving others like Jesus loves us.  After church they had a potluck dinner at the church!  It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Tons of really good food!  It seems either we get fed in abundance or we are super hungry, haha.  I have learned to carry granola bars with me just in case :)
Yesterday evening was really fun!  We went to the Northern Michigan University campus to see a few less active members there.  We ended up teaching the Plan of Salvation (with those pictures the sisters at home gave me:) in the hallway to a small group of college students.  A few that were walking by stopped to talk with us too.  We will be meeting with one of them again next week. 
So it is definitely hunting season! Everyone up here loves hunting!  It is quite the sight when we are driving down the road and see all these deer strapped to the top of the cars, haha.  And no I have not tried to deer meat here yet.  Well, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We have so so SO much to be grateful for! (Alma 26:37) God is truly mindful of ALL of His children!  I'm grateful to be here right now. God is truly teaching me how much He cares for His children.  I love you!
Have fun eating good food this week! :D

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

Another great week in Marquette, Michigan!!!!!!!!!!  We had zone conference this week and it was so so so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Our mission president, President Cutler has been really focusing on the Book of Mormon and getting our investigators to read because we are truly helping them come unto Christ when we help them to study the Book of Mormon.  The spirit was so amazing and I truly felt the joy of the spirit.  We have the truth and it is good but it is what we do because of the truth that we know that truly changes us.  We are trying to get souls into the Celestial kingdom, that is our goal.  We talked about the family.  Our goal is to bind families together.
We also went on exchanges this week with the sister training leaders.  I was with Sister Neal and it was an amazing day!  We met with an investigator who is a paraplegic.  He had a very intense accident that led him to be that way and has questions about what comes next after this life.  I know the gospel can help him as we continue to teach him.  Sister Neal and I also went tracting and I think she helped me to feel less like a salesman in door approaches, haha.  It was definitely good.  On Saturday we went to a less active members house and started teaching them about studying the scriptures and the blessing that come from reading the Book of Mormon.  I ended up talking a lot about how if we truly desire to feel of the joy that comes from coming closer to Christ through the Book of Mormon we can and a lot of desiring to have the blessings of the gospel and how the Book of Mormon can help us.  Then Sister Brandley surprised me by asking Lacey if she had the desire to be baptized.  I learned that although the rest of the family was less active, Lacey was not a member of the church.  She had the desire to be baptized and had taken the missionary lessons but then had lost the desire.  I thought it was cool that I hadn't realized this was her situation but through the Spirit I  had said what was needed to help her regain that desire.  She wants to be baptized again but she wants to understand the Book of Mormon better. She has a hard time understanding it so we will continue to work with her.  I was really bold in talking to her because I thought she was already a less active member and I probably wouldn't have said all the things I did if I knew she wasn't baptized yet but she needed to here my bold testimony of scripture reading.  I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways. :)  We also met with the Stockers and they really need prayers right now. They want to be baptized but life is hard and they are struggling right now.  Please pray for them. 
Sunday was amazing too!!!!!!!!!!!!  The sacrament meeting talks were super good!  One of them was on hastening the work!  The members here are so missionary minded, it is wonderful!  They are definitely a huge help!  We helped with a few lessons in Sunday school and we did missionary role plays with the young women. 

Also, last night we met with a Chinese investigator named Shuang!!!!!!!!!!  She fed us real Asian soup!  She has to go to the doctor today and is super nervous so pray for her.  She is so nice and likes to learn about Jesus.  It was a very interesting lesson.  They have Chinese copies of the Book of Mormon so when we would take turns reading the scriptures out loud, Shuang and her father would read it in Chinese and then we would read it in English.  Difficult but it worked, haha.  Take advantage of reading the Book of Mormon!  Even as our prayers go up to the ears of the Lord, His voice comes down to us when we read the scriptures.  I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First Letter from the Field

Missionary work is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D  I am now in my first area, Marquette Michigan!  It is pretty much as north as you can get, and I live right next to lake Superior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The lake looks like an ocean and gets kind of moody with the weather, haha.  It looks a lot like Yellowstone here with a lot of pine trees and forests but no mountains, it is sooooooooooooooooo flat!  That is probably why everyone gets lost here.  We have already gotten lost twice.  My companion is Sister Brandley and she is the best!!!  She plays the piano and one of the very first things that I found out from her was that she started teaching piano lessons as part of our missionary work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was so so excited and happy!  I think we will be teaching a lesson this week :) 
It is very cold here and at the moment it is very snowy!  We have a truck (the elders were jealous that the sisters got the truck, haha)  so that helps. 
As for missionary work, we have teaching some less active members that need a lot of love and the hardest part right now is getting investigators and less actives to come to church.  There is only one ward here and it is huge!  So a lot of the ward lives about 30 minutes to a couple hours away from the church building.  The actually broadcast it to other places to make it easier but it is still hard.  This week we had two of our investigator families come to church and that was sooo exctiing.  It was the primary program and also we had a ward baptism after church that Sister Brandley and I spoke at.  So I gave my first talk on baptism yesterday and it went really well.  We also set a baptismal date for one of the families that came to church!!!!!!!!!!!  It will be in December :)
We have a couple new investigators that we found this week.   The first two people that we talked to street contacting we were able to give Book of Mormons to and we have a return appointment today with one of them!  She was playing outside with a super cute puppy and we started talking to her.    I'm excited to teach her later today!  Also, last night we met a girl named Evelyn.  We actually went to go see her room mate is less active but she was busy so we taught Evelyn about the restoration.  She is super amazing!  She is a cross country runner and is here because of a running scholarship she got, but unfortunately she is injured right now.  She told us that right before every race she would always say a prayer.  She said she didn't know why but she said it always calmed her down and it was just her thing she did.  She has such a sweet spirit and such faith!  We invited her to be baptized if she comes to know it is true and she said yes! 
We also contacted one of our referrals, a super nice family!   We taught two darling girls, Hope and Grace, about prayer and the scriptures.  Hope asked about Mary and wanted to know what she looked like so she could draw her, it was so cute! We read in 1 Nephi that Mary was beautiful and fair to answer her question.  Children really do love the Savior and are so faithful.  That was probably one of my favorite lessons.

Right now we are staying at a members home, the Rayhorn's.  They are super nice and have a great big sheep dog named Riley.  Riley is a very big but very sweet dog.  As for meals, we have had at least one dinner appointment everyday that I have been here and the food is delicious!  The members are absolutely awesome at helping us with missionary work!!!!!!!  It is a very missionary minded ward and that is super great!  I know that this gospel is so true and that God knows each and everyone of us!  Seeing God's hand in the lives of His children is such a blessing!  I have seen that so much, even from the moment that I got to the MTC.  I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!