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 (well...it 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 home...it 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