Skyping on Christmas

There’s a log of planning that goes on to Skype as a missionary. I had to contact my family the p day before
Mother’s Day (It was the first Skype call I had on my mission), see when they are available and see if it matched with my schedule. Then, in my case anyway, My companion and I had to find a member who was willing to let you borrow their computer/phone/any other communication device at their house (usually this wasn’t that hard) AND everyone’s schedule needs to match! By the time I sit down to Skype, I had no idea what to talk about!

So here are some tips I created to help and ensure that you have a great Skype time with your family or missionary.

Ask Questions

One of the best ways to start and keep a conversation rolling is questions. This is great advice…Except, for most of us, out minds go blank during moments that seldom come to us like Skype your family twice a year. To combat this, I have written a list of question you can ask your family or your missionary to get the most out of your precious Skype time!

Questions the family can ask their missionary:

What is the best thing that has happened so far?

What is the funniest/most embarrassing thing that has happened?

What do you love about the mission area (culture, people, food, places, ect)?

What have you learned temporally (cooking, cleaning, laundry, driving in snow, communicating, ect)

What have you learned spiritually?

How have you gotten closer to Jesus Christ since you’ve been out?

What’s the best thing about being a missionary during Christmas time?

What miracles have come from participating in the #LIGHTtheWORLD event (or whatever the initiative is)

What is your favorite thing about being out in the mission field?

What is the Hardest thing about being out in the mission field?

What’s the weather like?

Have you eaten anything adventurous yet?

(For first Skypes) what was the MTC like?

describe the place you are serving in right now

What’s your favorite thing about the gospel?

What’s your favorite Scripture?

What’s the craziest thing that has happened?

How does it feel to have a companion 24/7?

There are so many other questions you can ask that are related specifically to each mission or just ones that you think up, this is just a list I started to help you have a great time with you family

Questions the missionary can ask their family:

What blessing have you seen in your life since I’ve been gone?

What’s your favorite thing about the gospel?

What’s your favorite family memory of Christmas?

Have you had any missionary moment recently?

(For RM parents and sibling) Do you have any missionary advice for me?

What did you get for Christmas (or what did Santa bring you?)?

What’s your favorite Scripture?

What’s the weather like?

What’s the most fun thing you have done for Christmas this year?

Any funny stories recently?

Again there are so many other questions that I can’t think of at the moment! I hope this list helps you to erase all of the long silent pauses and helps you to continue to focus on your mission and have a great Skype call with your family.

What else can we do?

Here are some other things you can do to create a fun and different Skype call. Some of these suggestions might be a little cheesy, but when you only get to Skype twice a year, you don’t really care how much cheese there is!

You can open present while on Skype. I did this my one and only Christmas, it was just my mom and I and we opening each others gifts while we Skyped, it was a lot of fun and it didn’t take to long. If you have a large family, each person can open one gift while you Skype or the missionary could open their presents only. It just depends on what you’d like to do!

You can sing Christmas carols together, Hymns would be best. I never did this one while I was out, however your this might been fun to do especially if your family likes singing.

If you are going to do any of these things, the number one thing that you have to do, is take a picture together! It’s fun to have a “Family picture” together even if you are not really together!

Lastly, (this one is a bit strange) you can “hug” each other, by hugging what ever device you are on. I don’t know when this came about in my family, I think it was when we were talking to one of the exchange students we had in our home shortly after she arrive at her own home, and we’ve done it ever since! I’m sure your little siblings would love it!

Things to know before you go!

1. have your parents, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangout, or whatever communicating device you choose to use, on hand before you get on to Skype. It’s probably a good idea to add your family to your contacts before you leave on your mission. It’s also a good idea to let your family know what your current area code is, so they know what kind of phone number they are looking for.

2. Don’t stress out too much about the call, it will happen how it will happen!

3. It’s going to be hard to say good bye. So missionaries, get to work after your done calling, it will help you refocus on the work and stop you from getting too homesick! For the parents and family, go watch a funny Christmas movie or something!

I hope these tips will help you this Christmas! I hope you have awesome Skype this Sunday. Merry Christmas!

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Has is really been 2 years!?

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Two years ago today I received my mission call! After 3 weeks of waiting, it finally came! Although I seldom wrote in my journal before my mission, I wrote in it two years ago today for this special occasion!

“October 30th, 2014

Today my mission call came! IO haven’t opened it yet because I am waiting for my parents and We are going to Skype our exchange students. This morning the bishop said my called has been assigned. I mailed a letter to one of our exchange students, so that I could see when the flag was down (that means the mail came if in the future there is no snail mail) but the problem was…I couldn’t tell whether it was up or down from my bedroom window! So that’s that. Later I went outside to get the mail and it was there! So I called my mom because she had texted me 17 times [about whether or not it came….17 is a huge exaggeration…] This morning at about 9am [pretty sure that was before I got the mail…], I realilsed that I had a mission call. I didn’t know where is was yet, but it just hit me that I had a calling! I am so excited even though I have no idea what it will be, but I have a feeling that it will be English speaking. I am so excited to open it! See you later”

That “see you later” meant that I was going to write later about where I was assigned to, but that didn’t happen until a week later. As I said in my journal entry I waited for my parents to come home and we Skyped two exchange students we previously hosted at our home. After Skype failed twice (once while my hand was on my letter as I was about to pull it out) I was finally able to read it!

I was called to the New York Utica Mission (if you didn’t get that from the title of the blog) I’ve always had a love for New York! I have a faint memory of doing New York state report homework assignments in my 5th grade class and I just wondered what Upstate New York was like. Although I did not go to the city I’ve always wanted to go there too! (I will one day) I know that is the place I was suppose to preach the gospel on a full time mission.

My testimony grew a lot while I was out. I learned so much more about the Savior’s Atonement and how it can work in my everyday life. I was able to share that with those that I came in contact with. I am grateful for each one of my companions and what I learned from them! I am also grateful for the people I served with. The members, investigators and anyone else I came in contact with taught me so much and I am grateful to have met all of them. It was seriously the best time of my life.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him if going on a mission is something you need to do. I promise you that he will answer you! He love all each and everyone of us! Regardless of if you go on a mission or not, we all need to share the gospel with others. It will give you the most joy!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post please come back every Sunday to more stories, tips and tricks for missionary service!

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He Lives Again!

Hello Everyone!

This is my very last email as a missionary so I guess I oughta make it a good one!

We sprayed our entire house with Permethrin this week! #nomorespiders

We had ZTM on Tuesday. It was weird because I had to bear my testimony since I am going home, I still don’t feel like I am going home. It was a bit anti-climactic because of that reason. ZTM was good though we learned about how having faith in Jesus Christ helps us to have faith to find people. Even if they are talking on the phone…

Then we went on exchange to Horseheads! I went with Sister Ferrin. She is pretty cool! She hasn’t been out very long, but she is a very good missionary and a good teacher. We saw a lot of miracles that day!

We didn’t have a lot of planed lessons with people, but we were still able to see so many people! We met an older lady who was watering her plants, (It’s been so dry here!) and we started talking with her. She didn’t seem to interested at first. The whole “I’m have my religion and you can’t change me” type thing, but we broke down some of her walls and were friendly with her. Even with her disinterest, I still felt like I should give her a Book of Mormon, so I did. She was extremely grateful that I would give her an entire book! She seemed very sincere in reading it. I hope she does!

For dinner we went to the Reeders house for dinner (the reason why I am saying this is because my companions will freak out…or at least the ones that served in Elmira) They made lots of Yummy food! We even saw all of their doll houses! They are about 7 or 8 of them that were set up. They even included a miniature Windex bottle and aluminum foil! It was so fun!

Later that night, we got back to the apartment before the other sisters did and we realized we didn’t have a key to the apartment, so we did the only logical thing. Talk to people. We talked to about 5 people in the ten minutes we were waiting for the other sisters to get back, it was pretty awesome!

The next day we had a few lessons, one with a little boy that was about 11 years old. We did an activity were we flipped to a random page in the Book of Mormon and read the verse we landed on. I don’t know, but sometimes that game is risky! There’s lots of war going on. But thankfully we didn’t land on any bad ones!

The whole time while I was in Elmira I kept noting that the grass was very yellow and crunchy and dead and that we need some rain, because no one has sprinklers here in NY. I even mentioned that we should have a service project where we go around with a hose watering people’s lawns.

Then it happened! On the way to Corning, it poured. It was a torrential down pour! When we go out of the car I felt like I was in the shower!

The rest of the week was spent trying to find people! We were finally able to find the family from the park again…I guess I was confused as to where they live (but what else in new? 😉 So we taught them about the plan of salvation. When we were explaining how Christ was killed by bad people the seven-year-old got really upset and said he wanted to punch the bad guys in the face! So we quickly told him how Christ came back to life. Then he got really excited and started jumping up and down with excitement and started yelling “He’s a live again!” He got even more excited when we told him that he would live again too, along with his grandma who had recently passed away.

Isn’t that how we should all feel? Excited that Christ lives again so that we can all live again with Him and Heavenly Father! I think that is want I have learned on my mission, to be excited about Jesus Christ and His gospel! And grateful for Jesus Christ and His Atoning sacrifice, so that when I make a mistake, no matter how much I regret it, my life isn’t over, and it’s the same for you! I am so grateful fo everything I have learned on my mission and I am grateful that i get to take it with me were ever I may go!

I love you all and am so grateful for all of your support while I have been gone these last 18 months. I am excited to see you but also sad to say good bye to all of the wonderful friends I have made out here in NY, but I know that I will see them again even if it’s after this life. And that is what Facebook is for 🙂

I hope you have a great week! and I’ll see lots of YOU next week!

#glassmuseumtoday #Palmyranextweek  #NYUM 🙂

Love you all so so so much!

Where did the week go?

This week went by way too fast!

I’m not even sure what happened!

We didn’t see a lot of fireworks on Monday night…they said it was too dry to do them. But the people that live behind us had a few of them and they were fun!

I think I forgot to tell you this, but last week we got a text from a former Sister Missionary who served here (No it wasn’t any of my companions 🙂 telling us about a girl she had taught that was interested in going to church again! We have been able to contact her through Facebook and we hope that she comes to church one of these Sundays! It’s been a very slow process, I think she just needs to warm up to us, and she was in the process of moving. But now that she is all moved into her new house we are seeing her tonight, hopefully everything goes well!

We had a fun dinner appointment on Friday night! They had a table cloth that all the missionaries sign (I remember doing this in Cortland when I was there 🙂 But that wasn’t the only fun thing! During dinner (BTW we had ribs…my favorite!) each of the kids went around the room and asked us one question, after we answered it was our turn to ask them a question. There were some very creative questions!

I remember when I was a kid and we had the missionaries over. I always loved it (especially when it was the sister missionaries)! I just remember looking up to them and thinking that they were so cool! Sometimes I forget that the kids in the places I serve really look up to us as missionaries. Cuz I wouldn’t look up to myself…but that would just be weird because I am myself and I know all of my flaws and everything. But those kids don’t know that they just see all the good in you! Ok, that was the random tangent of the epiphany that just came into my head.

Earlier in the week, although I forget which day, I felt that we should go to a certain part of our area. So we went! It was cool because we got to see one of our investigators that we haven’t been able to see all transfer and, we set up an appointment with a part member family for the next day, unfortunately they were home when we went the next day. But at least we were able to say hi the day before!

the Elders had a baptism on Saturday, and also an 8-year-old girl in the branch. It was a good baptism, they even had dirt cake as a refreshment.

We caught a giant spider in our one of our spider traps! Somehow we’ve had less spider troubles except the spider that was on our closet door Saturday night…made a pretty funny video though!

Well, I guess I can say that I have been a missionary for 18 months, (as of Thursday) It’s been pretty great and I am grateful that I still have 2 weeks to go!!! I haven’t lived in NY for 18 months so it doesn’t count yet!

Have a wonderful week! love you all! Bye now.

Loves yas!

Rooming with Spiders

We did a lot of walking, and we got lots of exercise!

We had our Zone Conference on Thursday and we talked about finding and how we can approach people differently that just say, “Hi were missionaries…”  We saw some pretty funny role plays…especially the one about moving to NY because they were pretending to be a cat breeder. NY is a pretty good place to breed cats!

It’s fun to try and talk to people using these the new approaches we came up with as a Zone. For the past couple days, I have been asking people what the purpose of life is. One time I asked a lady that was walking and she just laughed and walked away, but I asked another man the same question and he told me that his dad always told him, it is to paint smiles on peoples face, I thought that was a cool answer!

We met another family while we were OYMing on a trail in Painted Post. We asked if we could share more of our message and they immediately stopped and sat down on a bench to listen to us. We taught them the Restoration afterwards, the little boys got all excited and said, “That was a great story!” They said we could come back next week, and the cool thing is, they live 5 minutes away walking distance so we don’t even have to use any miles to get there! We are excited to see them this week!

On Wednesday morning, we helped to do “Meals on Wheels” If you’ve never heard of it, it’s this service activity to deliver meals to the elderly in the community, I think, But I didn’t really know what I was doing I just did it. It was great!

One of our investigators came to church for the first time since I’ve been here! She seemed to enjoy it and I hope she comes again next week! We also sang with the youth in Sacrament meeting Spontaneously, so that was fun too!

Sunday night was fun, we walked all around town knocking on doors and talking to people on the street…somehow I enjoy that now.

I’m still working on my proud watch tan line and trying to avoid the mosquito, and talking to everyone I see! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!!

Loves yas!

What’s the Purpose of Life?

It was a pretty good week!

We did a lot of walking, and we got lots of exercise!

We had our Zone Conference on Thursday and we talked about finding and how we can approach people differently that just say, “Hi were missionaries…”  We saw some pretty funny role plays…especially the one about moving to NY because they were pretending to be a cat breeder. NY is a pretty good place to breed cats!

It’s fun to try and talk to people using these the new approaches we came up with as a Zone. For the past couple days, I have been asking people what the purpose of life is. One time I asked a lady that was walking and she just laughed and walked away, but I asked another man the same question and he told me that his dad always told him, it is to paint smiles on peoples face, I thought that was a cool answer!

We met another family while we were OYMing on a trail in Painted Post. We asked if we could share more of our message and they immediately stopped and sat down on a bench to listen to us. We taught them the Restoration afterwards, the little boys got all excited and said, “That was a great story!” They said we could come back next week, and the cool thing is, they live 5 minutes away walking distance so we don’t even have to use any miles to get there! We are excited to see them this week!

On Wednesday morning, we helped to do “Meals on Wheels” If you’ve never heard of it, it’s this service activity to deliver meals to the elderly in the community, I think, But I didn’t really know what I was doing I just did it. It was great!

One of our investigators came to church for the first time since I’ve been here! She seemed to enjoy it and I hope she comes again next week! We also sang with the youth in Sacrament meeting Spontaneously, so that was fun too!

Sunday night was fun, we walked all around town knocking on doors and talking to people on the street…somehow I enjoy that now.

I’m still working on my proud watch tan line and trying to avoid the mosquito, and talking to everyone I see! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!!

Loves yas!

Crazy Sister Missionary :)

Once again… Crazy week!

Elmira was fun on Monday and Tuesday! The other sister thought I was the most hilarious person ever…not entirely sure why. They are the best! We went to Wendy’s for dinner on Monday night. We had some good lessons with people and we ate at subway with a member on Tuesday night. Ok, it was more fun than it sounds 😉

We had an adventure on Wednesday. Sister Wright and I had to leave Horseheads by 5:45 in the morning (but we didn’t actually leave until 6) so that we could get to Ithaca to pick up the Elders there and then head to Utica and get there by 9:30. But the Elders were slow so we didn’t get there until 9:45, and we also got stuck in traffic when we went through Cortland (my old area!).

When we got to Utica Sister Wright went to a trainers meeting, and I with a few other missionaries cleaned the Utica building. It went by pretty fast. Afterwards we had a little devotional thing. We went around the room introducing ourselves. I literally didn’t know anyone (for the most part) It was weird, mostly because I wasn’t freaking out about not knowing anyone in the room. We had a good discussion about the Spirit and experience we’ve had on our mission from following the Spirit. Then we had lunch and I meet my new companion, Sister Christensen. I also saw Sister Johnson from my MTC district! That was fun! I still feel like I just came out! I said good bye to a few other people, it was weird to think that I might not ever see them again…or at least on my mission!

Then it was time to go. We got Sister Christensen’s things and she said her good byes and then we left it took three hours to get back! Sister Christensen is pretty great! She is pretty quiet and she loves movies! We are getting along pretty great!

No one is going to believe this (especially my companions), but I’ve turned into a crazy missionary! And I’ve stopped every single person I pass on the street, to talk to them about the gospel. It’s been pretty great! We’ve gotten a lot of appointment set up for this week with lots of new people and others that we have already been teaching. And I’ve successfully started to get a watch tan line 🙂

We had a great lesson with one of our investigators this week. Last week she told us that she was going to pray to know if the church is true, and I was excited this week to find out if she got an answer! And she did…it just wasn’t what I thought it would be. She said she felt good about going to her church so she didn’t want to come to our church anymore. I wasn’t going to take no for an answer! So I read from the book of Mormon with her, and as I was reading the scripture she stopped me and said, “You’ve changed my mind” And she went on to explain that she wanted to think about our church some more. I helped her to understand that it wasn’t me that changed her mind, it was the Spirit! I was such a cool experience!

I love being on my mission so much and I am so grateful that I still have 6 weeks left! I am excited for this transfer!

LOVES YAS!