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!

May 22, 2013

Day 69... He has changed so much.

May 20, 2013

Excerpts from email chatting with Sister Chase...

I am good. Last night I felt a bit frustrated and discouraged, but that's normal. I'm definitely being shown my weaknesses....probably so that I can work on them. There is SOOOO much to learn on your mission. Every single thing you need for life can be learned/experienced here (a little bit of everything) in the mission field.

In about three weeks we go to the Temple in Redlands. And we get Cafe Rio that day! :) Also, I probably will be training and staying in Jurupa. The next transfer is June 18. The STL's [sister training leaders] said I’ll be training basically.

Ah darn. Well I don't have time to write a group email today. The dumb computer logged me off and it got rid of my email to the president! So I have to do that again. I am happy, though and working hard. We visited them [the L family] on Sunday and he found out about my headache. We said the closing prayer and we were getting up and he said wait a minute and he grabbed his wife and talked to her in the kitchen. They came back and she tells me he wants to give me a blessing.  He feels terrible about my [chronic daily] headache and can’t believe I have to deal with that as a missionary. So his home teacher is coming over there tonight and he'll anoint and bro L will give me a blessing. They are amazing.

Love you sooooo much. Tell everyone hi and that I love them.

Excerpts from Sister Chase’s letter to her President…

This week Sis H and I have been working hard, but we still have low numbers. We fasted yesterday for help in finding new investigators. Fasting is really hard for me with my headache, but I was able to do a full fast. We heard of a family in our ward with a single mom and five unbaptized kids--that was definitely an answer to our prayers.

Sister H and I have become sisters, which is so fun. We have our differences, but we have so much fun working together. We are both very organized, which is super nice. We are happy and we are working hard.

Mt. Rubidoux, in the hills of Riverside
P-Day hike with Jurupa Zone

Jurupa Valley

May 14, 2013

Day 62... The Gift of Awkwardness!

May 13, 2013

Dear Family and friends,

Happy two months today! I can't believe I have been a real missionary for two months. Time flies. I think I'll be home sooner than I realize. Although 16 months still feels like forever away. I am enjoying being here in Jurupa, though. I love to testify. It's my favorite. My comps say I am good at being bold with people in lessons and in OYM'ing or tracting, but I still am not comfortable teaching actual doctrine. I hope that comes with time. I just get really nervous. And when you are set apart as a missionary, you are given the gift (ha....not) of awkwardness. I swear, everything I say comes out wrong. I suppose my being awkward shows people that I'm a real and imperfect person, but I feel embarrassed when stuff comes out wrong, especially when we are tracting or OYM'ing (open your mouth...basically just talking to everyone that you see). The other day I called sister Fankhauser (one of the STL (sister training leaders) that lives with us, Sister Hankfauser. Things like that happen all the time to me lately!

On the topic of awkward, I, Amanda Chase, BURPED at our dinner appointment on Saturday night. SO EMBARRASSING. Sometimes when you get comfortable with certain families in the ward, you forget you're a missionary! I think I forgot and it just came out! Thankfully we all had a good laugh and I apologized a bazillion times but still. Ah. I really hope that doesn't happen again! My companions loved it because I never burp and fart in front of them...let alone in front of members! So that's the embarrassing story of the week.

Oh! And another experience. We went to R and T's house to teach a lesson and before we went in, I talked with their neighbors. Three guys were outside and I asked them if they would like to receive a harvesting blessing. They said no and then offered me to smoke some weed with them (they were probably already drunk or high or whatever to begin with). That was my first time I have ever been offered something like that before! It took 20 years for me to be offered anything that is against the word of wisdom. My comps couldn't believe no one has offered me alcohol or anything like that before! It sure wasn't hard declining weed though :)

We just had transfers last week. Sister Haycock and I are companions now (we are no longer in a trio...I was told I can't say threesome as it has a bad connotation. After saying that for a couple weeks, Sister Boyd kindly informed me that I probably should say "trio" instead). We are still in the Jurupa 1st ward. Sis Boyd and sister Fankhauser (she has two more transfers left) are living with us and are the new STLs (sister training leaders...basically sister APs— assistants to the president). They are in our ward too! Two sets of sisters have never been in the same ward ever in the history of the California Riverside Mission (or probably in most missions in the world). The work is moving forward and the field is very white. It is so neat to see. I wish the ward members would be more involved. Some are super helpful and some ward members don't even care to help us or to give us referrals. It's kinda disappointing. But the ones that do help us are awesome. So we split the work in the ward. The area Sister Haycock and I cover hasn't been worked in and has been ignored for the past 15 or 20 years! There is so much to do. And there are a ton of less actives in our ward. If our whole ward was active, the Jurupa 1st ward could be 4 wards easily. We are really trying to help reactivate the less active members. They all are struggling... every. single. one of them but it is hard for them to realize that they definitely wouldn't be struggling as much if they just had the gospel/the blessing of the gospel/ blessings of living your covenants in their lives! I don't think these less active members realize how much we think about them and pray for them by name and pray to know what they need to hear from us. I wish I knew how I could help them better.

Oh! And I very well could be training next transfer...we have 17 English speaking sisters coming out in June! Crazy!

Well I gotta go! Thank you so much for all of your prayers, letters, thoughts, emails, and packages. It means so much. You are all awesome. My favorite chapter of this week is 2 Nephi 2 [Click here]. Sooo good. You all should read it. It talks about the plan of salvation.

I know this gospel is so so true. That is why I have devoted 18 months of my life to this work. I cannot and will never deny the truthfulness of this gospel. If you are struggling in your testimonies, I encourage you to exercise your faith by reading the Book of Mormon, attending church, and praying, even if you feel like you don't need the gospel or think it is a waste of time. It is NOT a waste of time. Every single one of us desperately needs the gospel and the blessings of the gospel. I have learned that so much while serving my mission. If only we just lived the way we have been taught to live, life would be so much more joyful.

Okay. Gospel rant over :) Anyways. I love you all. I wrote a bunch of letters today, so look for those in your mailboxes this week!

With lots of love,
Sister Amanda Abby Chase

Mother's Day Skyping on the big screen! So fun!

May 7, 2013

Day 56... "This is why I am here".

May 7, 2013

Excerpts from Sister Chase's email today...

Oh! So me and Sister Haycock are in a companionship and then Sister Boyd and Sister Fankhauser are the new sister AP's (they're technically called coordinating sisters or something like that). They got a new car and now we have the Fusion. So we divided up the work in our ward. So there are two sets of sister missionaries in just our ward! We're all living in the same house. So there is lots to do.
Sister Boyd and Fankhauser had a meeting with President and Sister Smart this morning about their new assignment and President asked Sister Boyd if I would be willing to have a new companion next transfer. So I’ll probably be training and/or maybe transferred next transfer in June. There are 17 sisters coming next transfer and only one of them is Spanish speaking! Crazy. The work is definitely progressing.

I really liked how in your letter you said you would pray for the desire to talk to people. That's a really good first step. I know Heavenly Father will give you that desire. And then it is up to you to ACT, like Elder Bednar always says.  Another thing that I've noticed is that the families that talk to their neighbors about the church a lot are the families that know the missionaries in their ward really good and that invite them for dinner a lot. I am SOOO grateful for many of these families in this ward. They are so supportive and loving. It really helps the missionaries.

Reuben’s brother, Tyler will be baptized this Saturday. Haven’t taught his sister yet.

The R family is doing so awesome. [They met the father and son of this family at the grocery store just a short time ago]. They are in the other sister’s area, now though. They will be baptized on May 19th. We had stake conference and the R's came to church for the first time. They sat in the pew in front of us. They are the cutest family and we were sitting there and I thought to myself, "This is why I am here." I am here to help bring people, but more importantly, families to Christ. We talked about them being sealed on May 19, 2014. I really hope I can attend their sealing. I love that family to death. It has been so neat to see how as they all have embraced the gospel; they have become closer together as a family. They are just so happy.

Read Alma 24. I wrote it down the other day to tell you about it but now I forget what it's about!


April 30, 2013

Day 48... because I really know that it is true. I know it.

April 29, 2013

Sister Chase ran out of time to do a formal group email this week. So the following are blurbs from our email chatting (so fun to catch her online) and excerpts from the letter she sent to her Mission President (she forwards that to me to be able to share additional info with us).

Things are going well and I am doing good. My head hurts sometimes but I try to not let it bug me. It's getting pretty hot here. Sometimes it's frustrating when people are rude and mean and don't want to talk, but the good really does outweigh the bad. So, I am still happy to be here and I am finding a lot of joy in being a missionary and serving those around me.

We didn't teach as many lessons as we would have liked to last week, but I feel like we are working hard. We come home exhausted each night, so that means we are doing something! This area could definitely use another set of missionaries. I love my companions, they are wonderful. We all have our differences and quirks, but we are working through that. Sister Boyd is a fantastic trainer.

I am learning that in order to really teach by the spirit, I need to be exactly obedient--in my thoughts, actions, words, everything. It has been neat to see the difference in how often and by what ways I feel the spirit and promptings here in the mission field verses life at home.

Last week, we met with the L family. Bro L has been through a lot. He is a real softy inside but he acts tough. We were talking to him about finding peace--through Christ and the Atonement. And he asks us "why do you even care? You don’t' even know me." I started to cry (everyone else too) and I told him something to this effect "Brother L, we love you. And your Father in Heaven loves you. We don't know you that well or your specific pains and heartaches and your struggles, but we love you." I went on to tell him that when you are a missionary, you are given this amazing capacity to love people-- and to love them quickly. I have learned a lot about love and charity. As missionaries, we really are given that gift to love. It is amazing to experience and see myself love people so quickly. I wish I would've been more loving pre-mission. That's probably ( is) my greatest regret. The L family is awesome and we love them dearly.

Another thing...we were having companionship inventory last night (you can look up what it is in preach my gospel) and sis h and b told me that I am a really good testifier and that I will be able to touch people through my sweet spirit. That was nice to hear because I still don't feel super confident in teaching, so at least I am good at that for now. Testifying is seriously my favorite thing to do--because I really know that it is true. I know it.

R is really doing good (He was baptized a week ago). After his baptism, he was just glowing. He is sooooo much more enthusiastic about life. He is just happy and joyful. He got the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday (they do it the week after the baptism in the mission field). He gave us a gift card to Sizzler--that was really nice of him. And his sister wants to be taught now and his brother, T (he has some disabilities) is going to be baptized this Sunday! His mom didn't want him to before, but after R’s baptism, she told him he could.

Lastly, Sister Chase mentioned this to me (Mom) in her email…

Could you just tell everyone to get to know/fellowship their neighbors. That is how the work will roll forth. That is nearly the ONLY way the work will progress. Have the courage to do it! Because we all have the strength and capacity and command to do it!

R's kitties...
Sister Chase typically hates cats and is allergic,
but "these were baby kitties and they were really cute".

Jurupa Zone

April 22, 2013

Day 41... If we are willing to speak, God will give us the words to say.

April 22, 2013

 Hi Mom and Dad, family, and friends,

All is wonderful and well in Jurupa Valley/Rubidoux. AND HOT!!! Thank you so much for your support, prayers, and letters. I feel those prayers and support continually. With faith, prayers have the power to produce miracles. That is definitely something I have learned since being in the field.

I just love my companions. Although I still have to exercise patience (being with two people 24/7 requires it), I just love them. We have so much fun AND we're working hard. My friend, Riley, once told me that if you're not having fun on your mission, you're not doing it right. I would totally agree. There is no way to survive a mission if you don't laugh and joke around. Speaking of joking around, my companions quickly figured out that I am way easy to tease and am super gullible. I think they like having me around ha :) And my companions fart ALL THE TIME. It's half funny/half really really gross but I suppose if that's the worst thing they do, I'm pretty lucky. So I deal with it. I have my shirt covering my nose a lot :)

I am working on becoming more confident in my teaching abilities. I felt like I was semi-oppressed in how or what I taught in Yucaipa for various reasons, so I'm trying to not feel that way. Since we have three in our companionship, we go on splits a lot. I went with a ward member to teach R (who got baptized yesterday) the other day and I taught the lesson by myself! We taught tithing, fast offerings, living the law of the land, and I also had to go over the baptismal interview questions. Certain sins require them to be interviewed by a member of the mission presidency, and since he needed to be interviewed by a member of the mission presidency, I was kinda nervous that he wasn't going to be able to be baptized yesterday but he was! He was so ready and has so much faith in Christ. Sis Boyd and Haycock told me that when they taught him about the word of wisdom he gave up everything...even soda! So now he only drinks water. And when I talked to him about keeping the Sabbath day holy, he told me that he wanted to observe the Sabbath on Saturday AND Sunday because some churches worship on Saturday. I told him that he can do what he feels is best for him, but that he is still human and needs to have fun. Some other single man in the ward invited him to a singles stake dance (he's 40) so we're hoping he can find a cute lady to take to the temple :) All his family came to his baptism, which was so nice.

So before I go, I have to tell you all a cool story (well it's cool to me). Anyways. There is this part member family--the I's. The dad isn't a member. We went over to their house (three kids and the mom was there) and I left the blessing. [It is common for them to ask if they can leave a blessing with those they teach or come in contact with. They call it a "harvesting blessing". They pray specifically for these people and Amanda said this can be very powerful] It was so neat to be able to open my mouth and it be filled with words to speak through the spirit. If we are willing to speak, God will give us the words to say. That scripture (I forget the reference) is so true! I was giving the blessing and as I went to ask for a blessing for one of the sons who is 16, I said that he would be a missionary now, and that he would be the means whereby his friends would come to the gospel, or something to that effect. I definitely wasn't saying that. At the end of the prayer, he was crying. And then he told us a couple of friends that we could leave a blessing with. The mom so desperately wants her family to be an eternal family. We see that a lot. These mothers and wives are just so sad and plead with their Father in Heaven constantly because their spouses are just not willing to give up that pride to know God and become an eternal family. I really think that's a big part of why I am here. To help with these part member and inactive families.

I gotta go, but I love you all. Your support means everything to me. I know that this gospel is true--and that is why I am out here. When we decided to come to the earth and gain a body, I know that I agreed to help certain people to gain salvation through baptism. I know it and believe that so strongly. I’m sorry I have taken forever to write you all back...the letters are coming soon!

Love you all,
Sister Amanda Abby Chase :)

P.S. Watch the Mormon message entitled "Our Eternal Life." SO SO good. Watch it HERE.

April 15, 2013

Day 34... You Are My Angels

April 15, 2013

(This is super random and thoughts do not connect with each other at all. Sorry in advance! My mind is everywhere!!)

Dear everyone who I love dearly,

I have ten minutes to write this email, but I just want to say thank you to all of you. For your fasting, tears, prayers, thoughts, letters, packages, everything. I have felt it all so much over the past week. You all are my angels here. Yesterday was amazing. My companions were fasting for me and many of you were and I felt it. I could feel that power and strength and spirit from all of you yesterday... so strongly. I wish I could do something to show my gratitude more than a thank you.

Long story short, I was having a really rough time in Yucaipa. It was just not a good environment for me and I just wasn't happy. Because of all of your faith and prayers, and an inspired mission president, I was emergency transferred (ET'd) to Jurupa/Rubidoux/Riverside. I am with Sister Boyd (she is almost 26 and has been here for 9 months). I love her SOOO much. She is so comforting and loving and mother-y (made up word, sorry) to me, which I have been desperately needing. And of course, I love Sister Haycock. [She was Amanda's companion in the MTC]. She is already trainer material. These sisters work so hard and are so busy and so many people are coming unto Christ and being baptized here. We had (well I experienced) my first baptism (oh! and wedding too!) a couple hours after I got to Jurupa (or however you spell this town's name). It was really encouraging to be there and to see the good that I have the potential to do here. I love being in a threesome. It is so fun and happy. God very much has a hand in our lives. It feels like home here (well missionary home). I want to be here now and I am excited to be here for the first time. It's a good feeling. I haven't felt like that since the MTC. I could not have a stronger testimony of angels. They are so real. I have been feeling the presence of my future children like you would not believe. It is wonderful and brings me to tears.

I gotta go, but thank you all for your support and prayers. I cannot thank you enough. I love you all.

Sister Chase

The happy threesome! Sisters Boyd, Haycock and Chase
in front of their home that they share with a single sister.

Back together again! Yay!

No different than college :)

April 8, 2013

Day 27... Never forget the times when you've felt this gospel to be true.

April 8, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I don't have tons of time, but I am still alive in Yucaipa. If you asked me last Thursday if I'd still be in California today, I would have said no. The adjustment has been very hard, but the support, prayers, and letters have helped so much.

So conference this past weekend was so wonderful. I loved Elder Holland's talk. [Click HERE to watch it]. That really was what I needed to hear. I would encourage all of you to read it. After the first session, our whole zone, about 20 of us, went to El Pollo Loco for lunch. It was so funny seeing all of the stares we got. Cracked me up. And when they asked for my name when I ordered, I was about to say "Amanda" but then just said "Chase". Kinda weird not being called by your first name!

I loved feeling the spirit at conference. I felt it throughout the sessions. I can never, ever deny the spirit that I felt. Once you feel the spirit, do not forget that you have. When doubts come, rely on the spirit you have felt in the past. I have had to rely on past spiritual experiences SO much the past couple of weeks. I have had to constantly remind myself of the confirmation that I felt to serve a mission. I guess what I'm trying to get at is to never forget the times when you've felt this gospel to be true. Elder Holland's talk on faith goes a long with this.

Funny story: we were out tracting the other day and we go up to this guy and apparently he was drunk (Sister Emery said she smelt the alcohol on his breath). We tell him who we are and then he tells our mini- missionary that is with us (she's 18 and from riverside) "You are really attractive. Take off your glasses." So we left right after that. Super creepy. Yikes

Still haven't had any doors slammed in my face.  It's also been neat to see things in my patriarchal blessing come to be.

On Thursday (one of the hardest days so far) we watched the Joseph Smith movie [watch it HERE] with Lupe, one of our investigators. I was able to bear my testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel to her. The spirit was so strong. I really hope she felt it and has been praying to know for herself if what we are teaching her is true.

We visit a lot of older widowed women. One lady is from England. Another is from Holland. She has a "kitty" (kidney) problem. Whenever she says that, I have to stop myself from laughing. It cracks me up!

On Tuesday, we met a guy that was sort of anti... but he wasn't super rude or anything. He didn't like the fact that we believe that God and Christ are separate beings and that one day we can become a God. He told us he'd listen to us tell him about our church for two hours if we would watch an anti-Mormon movie with him. We said no :) So that was an interesting experience!

Food has been pretty good so far. Last night was the grossest (some super dry sloppy joe on an english muffin) but it was still edible. This week I have exchanges with a spanish-speaking sister so I get to eat some authentic Mexican food! And I don't think  I've gained weight...yet. So hooray for that!

So cool experience (well I thought it was neat). I was sitting in the chapel during conference and there were a bunch of empty pews. I felt very strongly that those pews were not empty; they were full of angels, supporting all of us 20 or so missionaries that were in that chapel watching conference. If we are in tune, we can all feel those angels. I also felt the presence of my future children so strongly. I thought I would turn to my left, and I would see one of them sitting right by me. I have felt their love and support so much lately. They, and my family and friends (all of you!) have helped so much. I am so grateful for my knowledge that there are angels among us. That we have help from the other side of the veil. I would be long gone if it weren't for the love and support I feel from my Father in Heaven and my Savior and those on both sides of the veil.

I love you all so much. I know that what I am doing out here is God's work. This is His church. Exercise even that particle of faith like Alma teaches. Always remember that there is a God in Heaven who knows you and loves you and wants you to return to Him.

Sister Amanda Abby Chase

P.S. My one month mark is this Saturday! And my four week mark is this Wednesday! Crazy!

April 7, 2013

Day 17-21... God wants everyone to receive His gospel.

March 29-April 2nd, 2013

We’re at lunch at home right now, so I figured I could write you. I never realized how important mail is until I started serving a mission. Serving a mission is seriously the hardest thing—mentally, physically, emotionally. I’m starting to let myself go more and more-meaning I think less and less about myself each day. Which is good. We have so much to do here in Yucaipa [Pronounced: /juːˈkaɪpə/ ew-KY-pə)].

I found out the average weight gain is 30 pounds so that’s not so great. We do exercise 30 min a day but I can’t run for too long because I get a bad headache [Amanda has suffered from chronic daily headaches, at times migraines, for about 16 months now].

My companion is pretty quiet, and until yesterday, it made me really sad because she never talks to me. But we talked a little bit and I guess she is just quiet. She just doesn’t seem super excited to be here or to be my companion (she’s been out 15 months), so that has been hard to deal with. After we met with the bishop yesterday (who is awesome and very enthusiastic), I just felt a lot better. And we had some good lessons yesterday. I’m still learning how to teach better. We have a lot of stubborn PMF (part member families). A lot of people are just stubborn and prideful—but when you talk to them, you know they know it, but they won’t admit it. We tracted into a home on Wednesday. It is an older lady. The house was full of cigarette smoke and she said she bought it in 1984… and it hasn’t been cleaned since then. I am definitely being humbled. God wants everyone, all His children to receive His gospel, even the people that have disgusting houses. So that’s my job! And we taught Lupe—she’s a 23 year old college student. I think she knows and she has the desire to know but is super shy with sharing her feelings. So we don’t know how to best teach her until we know what she’s thinking. We often visit older divorced or widowed women and share a message or talk. Those ladies just need someone to talk to!

So now it’s later today. We just got home a bit ago. I wish my companion would talk to me. After good lessons or experiences with people we meet, she doesn’t say anything. It’s like she has zero enthusiasm for the work or if she does, she’s certainly not showing it. I’m trying not to focus on it. But it’s hard being around someone [like that] 24/7. I don’t understand and I don’t know what to do to help her. I think she’s just so close to going home that she can’t be excited about still being here. It’s hard. Please continue to pray for me.

Also, In July, I could be in the Riverside, Redlands, or Carlsbad Mission. A big portion of our mission is going to the Redlands mission and only the Murrietta area is going to the Carlsbad mission. That one is close to the coast, so I kinda want to be in that mission.

My dog bite isn't infected. Did I tell you everyone in Yucaipa has dogs? It's RIDICULOUS!

:) Sister Amanda Abby Chase

Other things I've learned (since being in California)...

  • The first few days are HARD. Expect that.  Know that Satan is super good at discouraging you, like super good. (Pretty sure the whole 18 months is hard!)
  • Study "How to Begin Teaching" in Preach My Gospel [before you leave for your mission]. It's important for investigators to know why you are there-- to invite them to become closer to their Savior and to prepare to make covenants with Him (baptism).
  • If you can, start studying at least 2 hours per day to prepare you for all the studying you do in the mission field.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle.
  • Bring a backpack!  I've been here for a few days and my shoulder is killing from carrying my purse. Tracting is not fun with a purse. [a shoulder bag was listed in "what to bring".  It also mentioned something about looking professional-- but turned out to not be very practical].
  • Look for those tender mercies when you are bummed out, discouraged, or sad. They are there.
  • You will be tired ALL THE TIME. I can't even tell you how many times throughout the day that I yawn.
  • You will pray A LOT. Silent prayers and vocal prayers. I swear I pray a out 40 times a day. It's a good thing. :)
  • Remember always why you wanted to serve a mission in the first place.
  • You [might] cry. A lot. It's okay, it's human nature.

April 1, 2013

Day 20... The dog wasn't even that big!

April 1, 2013

Hi family and friends,

I am currently in Yucaipa, California. It's surrounded by mountains and has a bunch of palm trees. It's pretty. Today is about 60 degrees which is LOVELY. During the summer it gets to 110. Thankfully, though, it's drier here.

So anyways. I am doing well but serving a mission is hard. The hardest thing I have ever done. I am definitely learning more about the atonement and the reality of Satan. He is so real. He does not want me, or any of the missionaries to be here. I had a bit of a crying/meltdown yesterday morning (I was about ready to call my mission president and fly was bad) but then we went to church and we saw three of our investigators there, one of which was very adamant on not going. Their names are Lupe, Bob, and Rene (he's a boy, btw----I saw him and his wife's name written down and it said Betty and Rene....that confused me for a little second. Then I figured out he's from Mexico and they're are in fact husband and wife, and not partners. I got a good laugh.)

So we do a couple of hours of tracting most days. I don't mind it that much. I haven't had a door slammed in my face....yet. Some people are nice and some just say "not interested" the second you open your mouth. It feels like a slam in the face, though. Sometimes when we don't get all of our OYM's (open your mouth...we are supposed to talk to 20 people a day that aren't members) we go to the gas station. Last night I said "we...." and the guy I was talking to says meanly, "NOT EVEN." I knew before I talked to him that he was going to be jerky, but I talked to him anyways. A lot of people are nice, though. 

When we go tracting this is what we say: "We are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are here to leave a blessing in your home." It's called harvesting blessing. So if they let us, we pray for them specifically and their needs and their family members by virtue of our calling as missionaries. I'm surprised how many people let us in (Not a ton, but more than I thought...maybe a couple times a day). These harvesting blessings can be verrrry powerful. Super powerful.

I am learning lots about charity, still. God's children come in every shape and size and they all need the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. I go into houses that smell like smoke, and I talk to people with a bazillion tattoos and cigarette in hand...something I wouldn't have really done before. But when you really start to get to know someone, we're all the same, deep down. We all need to be loved, and we all need hope. Yucaipa needs hope right now. There are tons of part member families and less active people.

And I got a super nice welcome from the city of Yucaipa. I got bit by a dog when we were tracting on Saturday afternoon. It was super hot that day and we were just finishing up tracting for three hours and then right when we are about to cross the street to get to our car, this dog (out of nowhere) comes running out of the fence and runs straight towards me. The dog wasn't even that big! But it decided to attack/bite me on my ankle. So since it broke skin, sis emery and I have to use our precious p-day time today to go to Beaumont to the urgent care.  I'll probably get antibiotics. The lady who owned the dog was definitely not nice when we had to get additional info from her yesterday morning. It hurt super bad! I have three cuts/bite marks. I was surprised how much it hurt. My eyes even started to well up. I also got my first sunburn that day. It is HOT and sunny here!

Today we went on a hike...more like an adventurous mountain climb (seriously...we had to grab onto tree branches and roots to pull ourselves up). My calves really hurt now!! It's funny on p-day because the elders act like they are 12 yrs old. Cracks me up. It was a nice break.

And I hope I don't gain weight. I don't think I have so far. I think the average weight gain is 30 pounds but I AM NOT GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN. I feel like I'm eating less and exercising more than I used to, so hopefully I won't gain weight.

Anyways, I've got to go write my mission pres but I miss you all. Thank you for all of your letters, thoughts, prayers, and packages. Those things really help to keep me motivated. I know this gospel is true. Without a doubt. Christ lives. Never, ever forget that.

sister amanda abby chase

March 31, 2013

Some advice for the MTC :)

March 25, 2013

[For sisters preparing to serve... these were things that were helpful for Sister Chase. Luckily, she's kind of a blog stalker and learned about most of these before entering the MTC. While there she picked up several more bits of advice and wanted to share in hopes of helping other sisters be prepared with things they may not have thought of previously.]

• Bring a watch
• Bring a small calendar (it’s nice to know what the date is)
• Bring some pictures of friends and family
• Bring stamps, envelopes, paper, and cute stickers to put on your letters
• Good pens and pencils
• If you get cold really easily at night, bring a small blanket
• Definitely bring a pillowcase
• A laundry bag you can carry (the place where you do your laundry is a totally separate building than your residence hall)
• Hand sanitizer, tissues, small lotion to carry in your purse
• Mints ( you can’t chew gum at the MTC)
• Tell your family and friends about (if they send a note before 12pm [Monday-Friday], you get it that night.
• You won’t get any mail until the first Friday you’re here
• Study the Book of Mormon, mark it, read it, know it, love it
• Camera with 2 SD cards-- to be able to swap one back and forth with your parents
• Bring more garments than you think (you get sweaty during gym and service time, it’s nice to put on a clean pair)
• A little hymn book (though not completely necessary)
• Smallish notebook to take notes and Band-Aids!
• Be prepared for some weird people
• The days are super short and super long at the same time, time is so crazy here at the MTC
• Try to have fun and remain normal. If you’re not laughing, you’re not doing it right
• Your emotions will be up and down all the time
• Bring melatonin if you think you’ll have difficulty falling asleep
• Be prepared to sit A LOT. All you do is sit.
• Just make it to P-DAY. You can do it!
• You won’t get to check your email for over a week after you report
• Don’t be nervous to teach investigators—as long as you’re prepared and have the spirit with you, you’ll do great :)
• When it’s hard, remember that it does get better—if you look, you will see tons of tender mercies from God during the hard moments
• Pray for your future investigators ALL the time—it helps to stay motivated and happy :)
• The elders in our district wish they would have remembered to bring their journal and a couple cans of mountain dew :) [What?! No caffeine at the MTC??]

Day 12 & 13... Learning the Character of Christ

March 24 & 25, 2013
Dear Mom and Dad,
Happy Sunday :) I hope you all had a good day at church and at home. It’s weird not being at home, but when I thought about you all having Sunday dinner today, I distinctly felt that I was still a part of that because you would be praying for me.  I feel your prayers constantly. If the MTC is full of ups and down, I don’t even know what being in the field is like. I don’t think I have thanked you both enough. While I am here teaching, you are the ones supporting me. Although you don’t have a name tag, you are just as much a part of this great missionary work as I am.  I hope you guys know that. Myself, Heavenly Father, and the people of Riverside are grateful for you letting me (and supporting me) serve a mission. I pray for the people I will help teach, a lot. That helps keep me going because there are people Heavenly Father specifically needs me to help teach.  The past couple of days have been hard—so many highs and lows. My headache has gotten so bad the last couple of days. I had to go back to our room and close my eyes and lay down it was so bad. I’m sure it’s just the stress of leaving to California and having to teach REAL people. Sister Haycock is so nice about it though. I’m grateful to have her around. I think we’ll be friends for a long time. So today we listened to a taped MTC devotional by Elder Bednar—talking about the character of Christ. [This same talk, or one just like it was also given at a Regional Conference (I have a copy Amanda gave to me a while back). Find the PDF for that HERE.] He talked about the Savior and how He always turned outward, when the natural man turns inward.  It was a super powerful talk. He quoted Neal A Maxwell: “There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the character of Christ.” Losing yourself in the service of others is the epitome of the character of Christ. He never, ever thought about Himself and that is why He could atone for us. Elder Bednar pointed out that we can’t come to be like Christ all at once, it happens “line upon line” and Christ’s grace enables us to do that. I guess it just all boils down to charity—the pure love of Christ. This is what I am trying to learn. It’s super hard. But it is something that I really need to work on. And with Christ, I can become more charitable. You know that one sister I have talked about that’s kinda super different? Well, when we were getting ready last night, she told me that she has no idea how I can handle a headache all the time and how she thinks I’m awesome. I kind of felt super guilty for feeling the way I did towards her when she told me that. God loves her just as much as He loves any of His other children, and I need to do the same, regardless if we’re so different. I just hope I can learn to see my brothers and sisters through God’s eyes. That is my goal right now. After the devotional, we heard from our district that one of our elders went home He was the last person I would  have thought would go home. He wanted to be here and always worked hard. I guess the night before, the elders were up till 3am telling scary stories. That Elder (probably unbeknownst to them) has some psychological issue and I guess those stories just flipped a switch for him and he couldn’t handle it. The elders like to stay up late talking, and every morning we tell them not to: rules are there for a reason, and what a shame that they didn’t follow this rule, as this elder went home. I just feel sick about it. I feel disappointed in our other elders that they didn’t stop the stories. I wish I could have. Sister Haycock and I just cried and prayed for Him. I wish I could do more. It is interesting when you are close to the spirit. I felt the teensiest bit of sorrow that God feels for Elder S. and I wept as He would weep. I felt that—something I don’t think I have felt before.  I can only imagine how sad God is. I can’t even imagine the sorrow and tears God weeps for ALL His children. I felt God’s great love for this Elder last night. The mood is just really somber. All of the elders haven’t spoken and haven’t even showed up for study time. I guess this sorrowful feeling is preparing me for the devastation and sorrow I will feel as my future investigators don’t keep commitments, or slip up in their addictions, or decide not to be baptized into Christ’s church. As much as serving a mission is super hard—mostly mentally and spiritually, I don’t want to be anywhere else. There are things I am learning that I don’t think I could have learned if I was at school. I am so grateful to be here and I am more than looking forward to teaching the people of the California Riverside Mission, starting tomorrow. I love you all very much. I pray for you daily. I can’t wait to talk to you tomorrow :) [Amanda was able to call us from the airport before leaving for Riverside.]
Love your daughter,
:)Sister Amanda Abby Chase
P.S. I also have learned and felt that there are so many angels among us. It has been neat to feel their presence. D&C 84: 88 [And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.]


March 29, 2013

Drop offs, Companions and Riverside, OH MY!

March 13, 2013--The big day!...

Kirra... best BYU roomie!

Almost ready for the 1 minute 30 second drop off.

Provo, Utah--Missionary Training Center--March 13-26, 2013...
It's official!

Sister Haycock and Sister Chase

The District

3 bunks and 6 girls to a room.

The dreaded "black moldy" shower. Good practice for the misson :)

Yay! Sister Clark from Bentonville!

Sister Chase would like you all to know that THIS is a mail box. It is to deposit letters written to Sister Chase :)

Riverside, California--March 26, 2013
The Arrival...

Umm, is this a dumpster they rented to transport the luggage?

Sister Emery and Sister Chase