Monday, December 3, 2012

Dec. 3, 2012
Fam Fam! 
This week we went to KIRTLAND! It was zone conference, and it was fabulous. It is so funny how much I love Bowling Green, but how exciting it is to see the Kirtland temple and Kirtland sites when I get to go :) 
I loved getting to see Sister Palmer and the other Kirtland missionaries. Love those sisters :) Also, conference was SO good! Our focus was developing the faith to find, and I felt like I learned so much about faith just by studying for that subject and focusing on finding this past week. President talked about how he has been bombarded with emails stating that more missionaries will be showing up on the coming transfers. That morning he had 19 more missionaries coming! Just that MORNING! The missions are completely getting flooded all over the place- almost like that prophecy about flooding the earth... ;) Pretty neat! Because we were focusing on finding as a mission, for fast Sunday we did a mission fast for finding the elect. The entire mission knelt down at 10:15p Saturday night to open our fast. Yesterday, right after we closed our fast, we got a call from these neat lady we had tracted into, saying she wanted to meet with us! Fasting with a prayer of faith works miracles! It was a very humbling experience.

The baptism we had on Saturday was CRAZY!  Leading up the baptism was super stress-free, which was really weird... what kind of missionaries ever get a stress-free baptism?! I know- it was eerie. But then the night before the baptism, everything EXPLODED! Everyone on the program was calling saying they wouldn't be able to attend the baptism because of choir concerts they had overlooked, or family deaths, etc. So we scrambled to find others to replace them (not so easy when you are working with a ward you don't have the roster for...), so by the time we got to the baptism, we were prepared to give talks, do a musical number, etc to make it all come together. Then we realized that the girl being baptized had forgotten her handmade baptismal dress, so her mom ran back home (which was half an hour away, btw) Anyway, it was insanity for a time, but then, miraculously (after starting half an hour late) everything came together PERFECTLY. The people that ended up filling in actually worked out a lot better than originally planned, Sister Joseph was given time to redo the supply table (the elders tried, she gave them that :), and it was such an amazing night. April was so happy. It is neat how He really is in charge, and we don't need to be worried. Everything will turn out :)

Oh, another thing from zone conference- we were talking about Christmas and how this is a great time of year to serve others and share Christmas messages when President randomly said, "I hope you get homesick this Christmas." I was like WHAT?! Who is this guy? Here I am trying to focus on missionary work and to not think about home, and then he goes and brings that up! The nerve! I couldn't help but think about that a lot this past week. You know what? I absolutely love my family. I really think about you a lot more than I would like to admit (because I should be focusing on those I am serving) and I am absolutely obsessed with you people :) I can't wait to talk to Meg about boys, to see Lex's incredible art, and to see how much Brooke is grown and get to play games with the family. Dad, I love learning and spending time with you and Mom, I miss our talks and your hugs! I think I am totally going to be homesick now... and it is totally my mission president's fault! :) I love and miss you all a lot.

Something else I have been trying to figure out recently is how to identify direction from the spirit. I think one way that he communicates with us is by shocking us (not with lightning). It was President's shocking sentence that made me think about what he said over and over, and the same thing happened at Grandma Mahrt's funeral when the bishop said that her death is sad now, but it would become sweet with time. There are a few scriptures that talk about things 'pressing upon their minds.' I think that is what it was talking about. I had never thought of it that way before. 

I forgot my camera card reader, so pictures will have to wait until next week! 

Sister Mahrt

Nov. 26, 2012
November is almost over!
I ate WAY too much at Thanksgiving! Sister J and I had to go home and digest for hours. It was great :) We went to the Misfit Thanksgiving at the church (their name, not mine. All the people without family in the area) around noon, then ran over to the Savoys at 2p. Wow, that family can cook! Sweet potatoes were there (LOVE sweet potatoes), they had all the traditional food, plus a ham, green onions wrapped in cream cheese and salami slices (fabulous!) and a billion pies. Needless to say, it was a good day. 

We had Kristen's baptism on Saturday! That girl makes me so proud :) She stopped smoking cold turkey, and she has changed a lot of habits in her life so that she could be baptized, and it is so easy to see how much happier she is! I absolutely love that about the Gospel. There is no faking true happiness. 

We get to go to Kirtland tomorrow! Yay! Zone conference. By the way, I have the best zone. I absolutely LOVE working with these missionaries! They are all about working hard and playing hard. I have never seen such a purpose-filled bunch, and it is so neat to be able to learn from their example. So it will be neat to be able to go with them to the Kirtland temple and sites. Plus President Vellinga is incredible, so it just adds to the awesomeness of tomorrow. I can't wait!

Ohio has the craziest weather mood swings. Thanksgiving was beautiful (60 degree weather!) and then the next day there were snow flurries. I thought we were going to die. Actually, it was only my life I was that concerned for. Not because I am completely selfish, but because Sister J does not mess around. That sister had on four layers on her legs, who knows how many layers around her torso, and her coat looks like a heavy duty sleeping bag with the bottom cut out for legs. She was not going to go down without a fight, that is for sure. Maybe I should stop thinking that I am invincible and put on some nylons. Or at least gloves would help. You just don't think of that stuff when you are getting dressed in a warm apartment!

We have a problem. We are learning the hard way that Sister Joseph and I are a tad too absent-minded. We have had some close calls with forgetting planners in laundromats and baptismal forms at baptisms. This may be an interesting transfer... 

On Sunday we were supposed to go to Kirtland with Kristen, but it fell through last minute :( We were really disappointed, but it didn't last very long.  The shock that set in when we realized our whole day needed to be replanned was more urgent of an emotion that took over. The neat thing is that Heavenly Father was right there. We ended up being able to plan for some lessons that we set up last minute, and it was our most productive day (numbers-wise) than any other day that week! And that was with 5 hours of church!  It is incredible how close to this work He is. It helped me realize I need to rely on Him a lot more. 

I had a neat realization when I was tracting this week. It was Black Friday, no one was home, and we were tracting in the coldest weather I have ever tracted in (and it was probably in the 20s and 30s! I am not surviving this winter- I'm telling you right now!) and I was thinking, "Sister Mahrt, this really is crazy. You realize that, right? We are walking around a neighborhood that no one is in, and you are going to get frostbite. You are nuts." Then a thought came just as quickly to me, '...yet, there is nothing else you would rather be doing right now.' And it was so true! I wouldn't have traded being a missionary for a fireplace and a cup of hot chocolate, while lounging in a lazy boy. It is so neat to be out here and having these experiences, and I am so grateful for what I am learning and who I have had the opportunity to meet. Ohio is awesome. 

Love you all! 

Nov. 19, 2012
First thing is first- Happy Birthday Mom! I hope your day is awesome, and not completely full of packing and moving boxes :)

I have come to the conclusion that this area is magical. We have been able to tract and find people who are humble and looking for additional truth ALL the TIME, and this transfer we will be have the blessing of two baptisms. I have never had multiple baptisms in the same transfer before! The companion, district, and zone goals that we have set we are regularly meeting, and sometimes even exceeding! It is so neat to see how prepared this area is! It has been very easy to see His hand in the work.

For our next zone conference, we will be going to Kirtland, and having our meeting in the temple and then on sites. We are so excited! President Vellinga has asked us to memorize some scriptures about having the faith to find. Amazingly, it has been so fun to memorize scriptures! I forgot how much I love it! Plus, it is so nice to have those scriptures on instant recall and be able to pull from the truths and principles it teaches in our lessons. I have felt like th spirit can work through me better as I am more prepared with scriptures in mind. Memorizing scriptures is so amazing! (You were totally right Dad, I wish I would have listened to you earlier ;) 

Thanksgiving will be fun. We have a short P-day today, then on Thanksgiving morning we will have P-day schedule until we go eat with members. We have been invited to so many dinners!! I will refrain from any pictures for the next few weeks so you don't have to be too subtle with your fat comments. 

Sister Joseph and I have come to the conclusion that we are very strange, because we are enjoying tracting. Neither of us particularly enjoyed it in our other areas, but here, it is almost fun to get out and meet people! Most of them are very respectful and nice. One lady that we met invited us in and proceeded to tell us about how she was out with a friend for hours, then her friend noticed that she lost her ring. They backtracked for hours trying to find it, to no avail. This lady began praying in heart that they could find it, and then she did! It was in some completely random spot, like under the aisle shelves in Target. Then she testified to her friend that God really does answer prayers. She was so awesome! She was hesitant to take a Book of Mormon, but when I explained how it has come to help direct me in my life (Alma 32- going on a mission) she was very curious about it. By the time we were done sharing how He has helped us in our lives, and left her with prayer, she was crying. There are so many amazing people out there who really are looking for truth, they just don't know where to find it!! I love having the opportunity to get out, meet amazing people, and make a difference in their lives by helping them get to know Christ better. 

We have had the opportunity to get to know a lot more members in our ward since Sister Joseph is new (so I had a good excuse to be able to ask people's names again :) I should know them after three months!) Ohioans are the best! I love the people out here. Even when they deny that they have hick accents and they totally do. 

I love you all so much! Good luck with all the moving. Good thing you have a train car.

Sister Mahrt