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!