August 3, 2013

A Change of Plans...and Some Thoughts for Preparing Missionaries

Dear Everyone (the handful of you that read this blog :)),

After four months in the field, I was medically released from my mission. I'm Amanda now, not Sister Chase. My migraines/headache got really bad. After a lot of prayer, tears, talking to President Smart, and my parents, we decided it'd be best for me to come home to get better. I knew I needed to do that, even though coming home 14 months early is really hard. Since I've been home, my decision to come home was definitely the right one, albeit a difficult one. I just couldn't be the missionary I needed/wanted to be with this headache. Sometimes Heavenly Father throws these crazy curveballs. Although I went to Riverside with my headache, I thought I could do it. But I found out that I am not perfect and that my body isn't perfect either. I've been home a little less than a month now.

Since I've been home my headache hasn't gotten better, but the comforts of home have helped me deal with it better (at least I think so). My doctors think I have a bad neck problem and a possible heart problem...but we still have some testing to do. I feel really hopeful that this new doctor will be able to help me become mostly headache free. When I was released (by President Monson's son....President old stake president in Provo) he said that the doctors would be able to discover the source of this 19 month headache and that my headache and all the accompanying issues would be resolved quickly. I feel really hopeful. I haven't really felt that before in regards to my headache unfortunately. I was doing tests this weekend and I feel like this headache will go away and that I need to go back on my mission. When I first got released, I thought there was no way I'd be able to go'd be too hard and who knows if my headache would become an issue again. But this weekend I have felt like my work is not finished in California. That for some reason, or for some person (possibly for this girl), I need to go back. I have no idea when I'll get better or what surgeries or treatment is needed, but I finally feel at peace. Knowing that I have a purpose. I have something to work towards while I am at home with no job, no BYU, and no friends (they're all on missions or at BYU). It's okay that I am not a normal 20 year old. That's been pretty hard to accept, but it's okay. I am learning lots of patience. Learning to accept God's will is something that is pretty hard for me. But His plans are ALWAYS better than mine. Always.

Although I was only in Riverside for four months, I felt like I learned a lot and changed a lot. So for you future missionaries I thought I'd write about some things I've learned or things I wish I would've known help you in your preparation. (these things are not in order of importance :)

  1. Spiritual preparation is SO much more important than physical preparation. I spent way too much time worrying about clothes or what I needed to bring. While I read PMG and prayed and attended the temple and all that good stuff, I could've spent all that time looking at sister missionary boards on pinterest on more important reading the Book of Mormon or serving my family.
  2. Memorize. Have the Standard of Truth, D&C 4, your purpose (in PMG), and Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision (page 11). I wish I would have spent more time familiarizing myself with the First Vision. But don't stress yourself out if you have a difficult time memorizing!
  3. Serving a mission is NOT a glamorous task. We spent a lot of time running from appointment to appointment or door to door. Lets just say you're gonna sweat! And sometimes you'll have no time to think. Or eat. And p-days are ridiculously busy. You're not always going to have perfect hair, you'll look like you've been run over by a car when you come home every night, and you may will gain weight. The Lord's work doesn't require perfectly beautiful and well-read and well-spoken missionaries, He requires effort. Ultimately, He requires your will and your heart.
  4. Sometimes people aren't nice. And say really hurtful things. To help with that, read this talk by Elder Holland.
  5. Pray. Pray sincerely and often and on your knees. Pray for specific people. Pray for your companion. I loved and appreciated when my companions would pray for me or say something about me during companion prayers, not just in their personal prayers. I felt loved and acknowledged when they did that. It meant and still means a lot to me. Pray for your mission president and his wife. Pray for strength. Tell Heavenly Father what is going on. Tell Him how you feel. Tell Him what's hard. Talk to him like He's your dad. Talk to Him with the knowledge that He will help you, as you have faith. Thank Him for the tender mercies. Pray for patience. Ask for inspiration and the ability to recognize promptings.
  6. Look for the little miracles. We all know that bringing souls unto Christ (through baptism) is kind of the big thing missionaries aim for. However, not every person you come in contact with will choose to be baptized. There are other miracles or tender mercies to be found EVERY day, even if you aren't seeing baptisms that you would like to see happen. Try to see the little changes in yourself, or your companion, or your investigators. Look for the times when you felt the spirit, or you were able to say the right thing at the right time to someone. Or that you were able to get past a weakness that day. Seriously. Baptism is not the only miracle to be found. If you don't seek out the little things, you'll be miserable. I've been there and it's not the best place to be.
  7. It's hard. It's tough to really explain unless you've served a mission. But. It's worth it. Completely. There were moments of complete joy and happiness. I was never happier before in my life. Seeing people come unto Christ is such a joy and privilege.  
  8. Bring conference talks or past devotionals or firesides. I read those a lot. While I love the Book of Mormon, it's hard to read it straight for an hour everyday.
  9. Understand what "exact obedience" means. You'll probably hear that a lot. Especially in zone or district meetings. That was a hard one for me. Whenever someone spoke about that, I interpreted that as "be perfect. have one baptism a month. hit the standard of excellence every week. find new investigators every day. don't say anything you shouldn't. don't be awkward. teach perfect lessons." That is NOT what exact obedience means. For me to not feel guilty and sick about my imperfections, I had to learn to ignore others' ideas of obedience. I knew what Heavenly Father's standards were for me...and that is what I tried to do. Beating yourself up is not what Heavenly Father wants you to do. He wants you to work and try and commit. Pretty sure the phrase "be perfect and don't make any mistakes or else you'll be considered a crappy missionary" isn't in the white handbook :)
  10. Be bold and loving. This is something that I LOVED about teaching. Be bold as you testify and teach. The gospel is not something we need to tiptoe around or sugarcoat. Say the things you feel inspired to say, regardless if you're scared. If you think about it, we are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are to do and say what He would do and say. I know that if Jesus Christ was able to walk with us as we tracted he would NOT be ashamed or shy with what He said. He would be bold and loving. He would see people as they could become, not as they currently are. He would give these people the opportunity to fully accept Him and the plan He has for them. I remember some missionary said that every time they spoke with someone, they imagined them getting baptized. Imagine how much their Father in Heaven wants them to return. If we only knew His deep love for His children we would be running from person to person exclaiming this good news...that He lives and loves them!
  11. Let Go(d). This is His work. Not yours. Because He loves you and knows how this service will bless you and mold you into the person He needs you to become, He lets you help Him in this work. Strive to listen to the promptings of the spirit and He will help you to know what to say. Trust Him ALWAYS. Even when you're working hard and doing everything "right" and not seeing the success you'd like to see. It will come in His timing.
So after all that being said, please know that I definitely had my (many) times where I complained (more than I should've) or I wasn't perfectly obedient, or I taught a crappy lesson, or I said something ridiculously dumb or awkward. That's completely normal. And do not beat yourself up about it. Learn from it and move on. Don't dwell on your weaknesses or past mistakes. Look forward and realize that God does not expect you to be a perfect, sinless missionary. As long as you are striving to do the right and serve God, all is gonna be okay and Heavenly Father will fill in any gaps and help you all along the way. I promise.

I hope this little list helps you all out there as you prepare to embark on your missionary service. Keep a smile on your face and keep walking, joy will come :)



July 5, 2013

Day 111... Her baptism completed the family.

July 1, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

And another week has come and gone. Time flies like you wouldn't believe here. This week was pretty uneventful. I had a bad migraine from Monday to Friday so I spent the majority of the time in a dark room with my eyes closed. Being sick as a missionary is not fun at all! I am very grateful, though, that I am feeling better. I know a lot of you were praying for me last week. I felt those prayers. It was interesting...on Thursday night the sisters picked me up from my babysitters (we can't be alone as missionaries) and Sister B asked how I was doing. At that point, my head was still pounding and I felt super nauseous, but I told her I felt hopeful. She said they were all praying for that--and I know many of you were as well. It was neat to see how quickly those prayers were answered by Heavenly Father.

B got baptized yesterday! We did a musical number and I played the piano for that and the hymns. It was a very spiritual experience. It seemed like everyone was crying. I think it was more emotional because her baptism completed the family. So now (well....a year from now) they can go to the temple to be sealed. I'll still be serving my mission so I will be able to attend. I am so excited for them. It has been neat to see their family just become closer as they have embraced Christ and the gospel. At the broadcast last week, J and P were holding hands and she had her head on his shoulder. It feels like they just got married! When we first met them, they were thinking about divorce and had hard feelings towards each other.

I gotta go, but I hope you all know how much I love this work and this gospel and the message we have all been given the commission to share. God loves you all so very much. I hope you all know that.

With lots of love,
Sister Chase

June 26, 2013

Day 104... I am definitely learning patience.

June 24, 2013

I, Mom, put together the following notes from emailing with Amanda on Monday. She didn’t write a formal letter but did give me some info in our conversation. I added a few things in brackets for clarity.

Hooray!!! I got your box!! Thank you so much. I have time to write you and dad a big letter today with all the details of the past week and answers to your questions in your letters. I just love letters from you! [I have extra time] because we didn't do a zone activity and the other sisters aren't with us.

I am good. Training... is really hard. But I am definitely learning patience. My headache has been super bad the past few days. And I was just super frustrated so yesterday when we were doing personal study after church I felt like I needed to ask for a blessing. So after the broadcast Brother T (our awesome ward mission leader) gave the blessing and Bishop L did the anointing. It was much needed. I feel sometimes like I am running faster than I can right now and feeling disappointed when the other sisters have baptism after baptism and we can’t even keep the investigators that we already have. I'm trying not to feel that way, though.

I got to go to Trader Joes (heaven!!!) and I got stuff to make salads this week. I have been eating a lot healthier lately.

I am so glad you watched the [Missionary] broadcast... I was hoping you would! I loved it!!! So good. It made me really motivated and stuff. I kinda doubt our mission will be getting ipads and iphones any time soon, but we can hope!!! Yeah, I'm thinking they'll just do more affluent/safe/bigger cities right now.

Love you alll sosososososos much!!! You are in my prayers!!! Gotta go!!

June 17, 2013

Day 97... At 14 weeks, I became a momma!

June 17, 2013

Dear friends and family,

So big news! At 14 weeks, I became a momma! My trainee is Sister Jin. She is from Seoul, South Korea. She went to BYU-Hawaii for about a year before this. She is a year younger than me. I am incredibly nervous about training but if President Smart thinks I can do it, then God thinks I can do it too. So for now, I'll just trust them! She is quiet, but very sweet.

We also got to attend the Redlands Temple on Friday. It was nice to go to the Temple. I have missed it a lot.

ALLLSSOOOOOO I got to eat CAFE RIO. Temple + Cafe Rio = A very happy Sister Chase.

Here is a little quote by Joseph Smith that I just love and boy, is it true:

"A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary to lead unto life and salvation."

Anyways, I love you all so very much. Thank you for the prayers and letters. I know I say that every week, but I really do mean it.

With lots of love,
sister amanda abby chase

Sister J and Sister Chase

Sister Haycock and Sister Chase with Sister Smart
(Mission president's wife--she is awesome!)

Redlands Temple



June 12, 2013

Day 90... Salvation is not a cheap experience. It takes work!

June 10, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Annddddddd another week bites the dust in Jurupa Valley, California! Time is going by SOOO fast. On Thursday, I will hit my three month mark! I am still loving serving here as a missionary. Although there are times that I would just like to lie down because I am just so dang exhausted, I love this work. And I love helping and inviting people to come to Christ even though some (most) people reject the invitation. I remember reading a talk called "Missionary Work and the Atonement" by Elder Holland. I am continually reminded of the following quote:

"Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?

You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary."

Missionary work is sooo not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. It takes work! If we just try to internalize the significance of Christ's atoning sacrifice for us, the work, effort, and rejection is worth it. Christ did it for us. He gave his life, and I am very certain I can give 18 months of an eternal life to fully serve my Savior. And when I think to complain, I am reminded that it was never, ever easy for him, so why would it be easy for me?

This week Sister H and I strived to be exactly obedient. Exact obedience is sooo not easy. But I have found that this week has been so much fun--even being more obedient. On Saturday, Sis H and I had ZERO appointments. Seriously. Zero. No one wanted to meet with us! So we tracted and called every single less active member and visited less actives as much as we could! Consequently, we also smelled like sweat. It is SOOO hot and nasty here!! We decided we were going to have a fun day, regardless of our very fullllll (ha. not) schedule. So we sang our little hearts out to songs in the car and decided to sing every single thing we spoke. I am for sure learning how to be more outgoing!!! I think another reason why I needed to serve a mission is to become outgoing. I think we would go insane and kill each other if we never had fun. Missionary work can be soooo boring unless you love it and make it fun.

Anyways. On Tuesday, we went to T's house (R’s brother....R moved out because their mom is'll see that in a second) to teach him a lesson. So we knock on the door and Mom answers with a very quick "hi" and a grumpy face. She let us in and said "mejas (little girls in espanol I think) I need to talk to you". I go to shake T’s hand and he wouldn't shake my hand. So I knew something was up. We go sit down on the couch and Mom proceeds to tell us that she never wants us to come to her home again because we are rude and mean. She says that we pushed baptism on T (we didn't....and we stopped talking about it once Mom said she didn't want him to be baptized. She said no church would ask a person to be baptized unless they had been teaching them for AT LEAST six months. Weird. We had dinner at her house the night before (R made the food and Mom was in the other room the whole time). She told her daughter we were coming and we would do "bible study" with all of them after (everyone thinks all we do is bible study around here. so not true!). However, we had told both R and T multiple times that we wouldn't have time to do a lesson after because we had an appointment with another family. She was so mad that her daughter went out of her way to come (from Rubidoux...5 minutes away) to have dinner and NOT have bible study with us! She didn't believe that we had informed T and R the week prior. She also brought up the fact that a few months ago (when we were in the trio) we had to cancel an appointment because something important came up. We apologized for that previously, but she brought it up again. She then was angry that the time before we only had a 30 minute lesson (that day was CRAZY busy). She went on and on for 5 minutes (we couldn't get a word in) and then I just interrupted and said "we are not here to nitpick at each other’s mistakes, that is not our purpose." She replied with, "Well I am here to tell you how rude you are." She said she still wanted people to come do bible study with T (who isn't even a progressing investigator right now). She said we can't come back but to send other people from our church. We told her we would talk to our Bishop. She said if we didn't she would go and talk to him herself! Oh boy. It was wayyyy frustrating in the moment but now I look back and it was ridiculous! Haha. And way funny.

We also visited a less active member. She is bipolar. Before we gave the blessing she said that work was really hard and not a good situation for her. So I started saying the blessing/prayer and I said something like "please bless that N will know whether she needs to find employment elsewhere or..." she interrupts and says "NO!!! DON'T SAY THAT!!!! I like my job!!!! And I am almost to retirement!!!!! and some other things. It was soo dang funny. So I continued the thought and said "...or that the stress at work will be lessened and she will know how to help resolve the situation." It was hilarious. I feel so bad for her, though. She is so bipolar and has been calling us often telling us how her day went. There are just so many people that need love! She also pulled out her book of Mormon and started to flip through it and asked "where are the scriptures??? I was trying to find them in here but I couldn't!" We then explained to her that the entire book of Mormon is scripture.

We meet quite the crazy people on missions, that's for sure!

I gotta go, but thank you all so much for your support and love. It means a lot. Also, read D&C 6. So good.

Love you all,
sister amanda abby chase

June 6, 2013

Day 83... "We need not be afraid if we are grounded in His doctrine."

June 3, 2013

Dear family and friends,

This past week was pretty uneventful, except for Sister R's baptism yesterday afternoon!!! Her husband received the Aaronic priesthood and was able to baptize her. He was just baptized a week earlier. It was so awesome to see. Families can change because of the gospel. They used to argue and fight and had some really bad feelings for one another, but as they embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ, they have been able to understand each other better and have been able to love each other despite their weaknesses. Hopefully their daughter will be baptized soon!

As we have visited TONSSSSSSS of less actives (some of which are not nice at all and many like to tell us what we are doing wrong as missionaries). I have discovered four things that if people did, the world would be a lot better of a place and they would be happy:

1. Be thankful/grateful
2. Control your pride
3. Live the Word of Wisdom
4. Live the Law of Chastity

I wish people realized how important following those commandments are to our happiness!!! Lives and families are torn apart because of those things. It's super sad to see. I hope that I am doing a decent job at letting these less actives know how much the gospel could bless their life if they could just embrace it!

I found a couple of quotes this week in my personal study that I thought I'd share:

"Sometimes we become the lightening rod, and we must "take the heat" for holding fast to God's standards and doing His work. I testify that we need not be afraid if we are grounded in His doctrine. We may experience misunderstanding, criticism, and even false accusations but we are never alone. Our Savior was despised and rejected of men. It is our sacred privilege to stand with him" –Elder Robert D. Hales.

I LOVE that quote. This week has been a lot of rejection and all that not so fun stuff, and it has mostly come from inactive members (go figure). After I read that quote, I came to the realization that I am experiencing the teeeeeensiest, tiniest bit of the persecution the Savior went through, and what a privilege it is to do His work! Despite the not so great stuff, being a missionary is the best thing I could ever do with my life right now.

I also found this quote that applies so well to each of us, especially those who already have a knowledge of the gospel:

"The restored gospel of Jesus Christ blesses lives not just when we believe it--but much more when we live it" President Uchtdorf.

What a true, true, statement that is. I just so wish you could all know the desires of my heart and the desires of God's heart concerning all of you. I know we are all going through hard things, but I just wish I could plead with you to hold to the rod, hold to what you have been taught growing up in the gospel. It is TRUE. So true. I have seen the gospel bless my life and others' lives the very minute they choose to embrace and live the gospel.

I love you all soooo much. Thank you for your prayers and notes of encouragement. I love hearing from you all!

sister amanda abby chase

Good thing Amanda can't look at her blog!
She would not be a fan of me (mom) posting this picture.
Captures the new side of Amanda--which I love :)

May 28, 2013

Day 77... We missed you. Love, The Sisters

May 29. 2013

Dear Everyone,

I'm sorry I haven't been super great at sending out emails! The hour we are allowed to email goes by sooooo quickly!

Anyways, this past week was great! I've decided that missionary life (quick interruption: Kirra is engaged!!!!!!!! She just sent me an email!!! So excited for her!!! And Chase, of course ;)) isn't hard, it's the fact that when you're exhausted and you want to lie down on the couch, you can't. You have to keep moving! Being a missionary is the craziest thing—there is no way to describe it completely.

So here are some little stories/experiences I thought I'd share with you all....

There is this lady in our ward who is a single mom and has two teenage/young adult girls. She is less active, so of course we go over to her house to visit with her. No one is home the first time we stop by. 2nd time: her daughter is home and the mom is not. 3rd time: Talk to the mom, set up an appointment to do a blessing. 4th time: show up for harvesting blessing and no one is home. 5th time: boyfriend of daughter answers the door and mom was sleeping. 6th time: (the same day as the 5th time) Now it's around 8:30'ish so it's dark outside. Her car is in the drive way and the lights are on and the TV is on and the screen door is unlocked. So it's obvious she's home. We knock on the screen door and we wait a bit. Then we look over at the big window (which is to the left of the door) and we see a person hiding behind the curtains with her arms crossed in an X shape over her chest (but she wasn't hiding that well because we could see her). So we continue to knock because we know she's there (remember this lady is 40 something years old). Then she quietly slides to the couch. Now we can see her from the screen door. So we knock again. No answer. We got in the car and just laughed so hard! It was hilarious. Also, around the 3rd visit we "chalked" her sidewalk. We wrote in chalk "We missed you. Love, The Sisters." On the 6th visit I noticed a scrub brush next to the area where we chalked. The scrub brush had pink chalk on it. Apparently they didn't appreciate our message. So we haven't visited her since because it is clear she doesn't want us to bug her. Just funny that she didn't have enough guts to answer the door and tell us that she's not interested in the gospel. Oh well!!!

So last Monday night, we went over to the L family's house and his home teacher did the anointing and Brother L gave the blessing. The spirit was so strong. He said that he felt inspired to ask me if I wanted a blessing. During the blessing, he blessed me that I would be so distracted with life that I won't notice my headache. And now that I think about it, this past week I haven't noticed my headache that much. So grateful for that. It was a very neat experience for the L’s, and for Sister H and me. It is an experience I will never forget.  I love the L Family.

The month of May has been a bad one for car accidents in mission vehicles. There have been 15 accidents, and five of them happened last p-day. ALL were from Elders. I am hoping that is a good sign for us Sisters. They might be kicked out of their cars and forced to ride on bikes! Selfish thought, I know...but the thought of ever riding a bike sounds terrible...especially in the summer! I don't think President Smart would put me on a bike any time soon, though, because of my headache and stuff. I'm not super worried about it.

Speaking of bikes, a Sister from Tonga was on a bike (they are assigned to a car but traded with the elders that day) and got hit by a car and broke her leg and tore her ACL. Since Tonga doesn't have good medical stuff, she is staying in the states. I feel SOOO terrible for her. She just sits at home drugged up on morphine and the recovery will be about 4 months. She still has to have a surgery to fix her torn ACL.

J and little J (his son) got baptized last Thursday!!! And received the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. J was given the Aaronic priesthood on Sunday as well. J's wife and hopefully his daughter will be baptized by J this Sunday. Although the other sisters in our ward teach them (we divided the area in half) we have seen them from beginning their experience in the gospel to baptism, which has been so amazing to see. Tears began to flow as J and little J were baptized. This is what the gospel is about— families. I have gained such a strong testimony of that since being on my mission. Sister H and I get to teach them tonight because the Sister's who usually teach them are on exchanges in the desert. We are super excited!

J and his family.

Last week some time we were OYM'ing at the gas station and I start talking with this man and he tells us that because of what we believe we will go to hell and that he doesn't want a "demonic" blessing from us. He told us that he feels sorry that we believe in what we do. He says that Joseph Smith shouldn’t have prayed for an answer, but that he should've just looked in the bible for the answer to what was correct. I actually started to cry/tear up during that OYM. It just hurt, more than anything else, to hear him say that.  It's crazy how mean people are to missionaries, who are just out to invite people to come unto Christ.

We also teach this 25 year old named T (his brother is R who is a recent convert). T isn't all there...and can't speak that well. We sent him a text yesterday to remind him to read the Book of Mormon and if he did, we could still come to teach a lesson today at 3. He texted back, "thank you. ur cute" The week before he sent us a random text that said "i think u sister's are pretty." SOOO WEIRD. Kinda have the feeling he likes us to come over cause we're girls that pay attention to him. We probably will stop visiting him as much, because he is basically becoming an eterna-gator, as his mom won't let him get baptized.

I also gave a talk in church on Sunday. We had hardly any prep time so that was interesting! I'm definitely learning how to wing things on the mission!

Well anyways, the work is moving forward here in Jurupa. I love being a missionary. It is so wonderful and well worth the sacrifice. Thank you so much for your prayers, support, letters, and everything else. It means a lot.

Sister Amanda Abby Chase

P-day nerf gun war!