Okay beloveds, this is so not my style, but I don't have a car or phone, so I have no way of telling you personally. I was privileged enough to have the opportunity to serve a mission for the Lord for almost 9 months. It was an honor and a privilege, and I will be forever grateful for the time I was allotted to do that. I came home for medical reasons, but I will be just fine. In my last three days there, my testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ, was completely solidified. And I can say now more than ever, that I know my Savior lives, He loves His lost sheep, and wants nothing more than for us to feel His love, strength, and the healing of His Atonement. It is between us, and Him. Thank you for your love and friendship, Zoe.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Heavenly Father is with each one of us. He provides specific people here on earth, but He also comes personally. He is a God of delegation, but He does His own work. We are His work and His glory, and He will always love us.
The Savior has given us the Atonement. And He is willing to freely bless each of us with forgiveness, joy, and eternal life with our Father. Whether we come later or not than others, is of no matter to Him. He knows our hearts, and will bless us fully for each step we take with Him. (Matthew 20:1-16)
When you are the "ninety and nine", offer your assistance and attention to those the Savior would care for. And when you are the "one", He will take you in His care. (Luke 15:2-7)
I believe in Christ. I know that He lives. He came to those on the American continent, and there was a record kept. That record is the Book of Mormon. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord, and translated, by the power of the Lord, the ancient record of the Book of Mormon.
He walks with us. He IS peace. He brings mercy. He brings eternal life. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that He lives, and loves us.
This is my testimony of Him, and I write these words in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Hermana Zoe Aundrea Patton
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Baah, I don't have that much time again because I was just tracking down a Puerto Rican. Haha yeah nothing came of it. But I tried! Jaime. He has lived here since the 1940's, and he stopped us to ask for directions, but we obviously couldn't help/were 1 minute away from losing the computer time, so we referred him to the librarian, but I felt like a jerk/Hispanics are few and far in between/he came to US, so as he made his way to leave, I ran up from the computer and ran after this little old man, yell-whispering, "Jaime...JAIME!" Haha, he didn't respond, so I tried, "Amigo!" haha. Anyways, this all taking place in a quiet library made everything a little bit more awkward. But, I have come to know that, that is all missionary work really is: a lot of really uncomfortable things. It's good though.Most interesting experience of the week: Jack. Jack is a dog. A Jack Russell. And he is so cute. So we knocked on this lady's door, tell her who we are...yeah she shuts it. So we move on, but she opens the door again and apologizes, telling us that it's been a really hard day; that her manager is going to evict her if she doesn't get rid of her dog. He was such a sweet little thing, and this woman was older, with diabetes and other health problems. She obviously was not social and would have a very hard time finding a place for the pup, and this woman's well-being was at stake. So like vomit, I said, "We'll take care of it." Oops. Haha. So we went to the Nativity Festival where Hermana Villalobos was to play Mary, and then picked up Jack before we went home for the night. Washed him, made a little bed. We live with a member, and we called her of course to make sure it was okay if we temporarily housed him until we found a home. So right now, he's just chillin.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Hey hey hey!!
I have like two minutes. So sorry. We played tennis for way to long! caps lock WE PLAYED TENNIS. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE. NO ONE EVER LETS ME PLAY TENNIS. We have played soccer and scatter ball for the past 8 months. And everyone thinks I am a party pooper because I sit in the corner and play the guitar or write letters. Which is fine, yeah I'm a loser whatever. But it's realty only because we never play the sports I love. And yes, I convinced everyone to play tennis this week. A member owns it so they let us play free. I was in HEAVVENNN. YAYYYY. Haha. I reigned triumphant! Nobody knew how to play though, so it was interesting. Anyways, and we got to golf. Real golf. Golf is expensive. FREE. Played for free. And the senior missionary, Elder Warren was a pro-golfer. And he is teaching me. No big deal. L:ife is GOOD. Which is nice because last week was the pits. Really it was the WORST. But we are out of it now, and we are happy, and life is good. It's super cold here. Like it will get below 20 this week. NOOOooonoOOOO. Oh well. It just makes people feel bad for us and let us in. Who wouldn't want that??
Sorry I won't write e-mails directly after playing tennis for 3 hours anymore. I have way too much adrenaline and endorphins I can't focus my thoughts or say anything significant. I just love tennnnissss!!!!
Thanksgiving was great! We spent it with a few different families.
Family. Friends. How ya doin'? I'm good. Haha. I'm in a really weird mood. Haha. This is CRazY. Missions are carrrazzzyyy. So many things!!!Facebook. We are doing facebook now. Whatthe. And we are using our own. I-Pads. We are also using I-pads. Those should come in a couple of weeks. Mas informacion on that later. We finally get to go to the temple on the 4th. Our new rule is temple trip once a year. AHH. I went once like my first week. And this will most likely be my last time going until I am home. I am so sad about that! The temple is my favorite place on earth...
Friday, November 22, 2013
Where do I even start? And what do I even say!?? This place is incredible. The woman we are living with.. a dream. The ward is OUT OF CONTROL GOOD. It's as if the ward is being run by the First Presidency themselves. The lake is the center of town, and we live right next to it, so we just go on a little run by the lake every morning. No big deal. GASP, are you joking me?? Everyone is SO nice here. We're about an hour from the coast. My district includes..the best people. All of my favorite missionaries, including a senior couple, The Warrens, who are just off the wall. I am in an English district and an English zone now. We have a dog! Haha. Well, we have the basement all to ourselves, and Tammy's husband Mike lives in Newport,OR to take care of his mother. But he comes every weekend, and brings the dog, Obie. Obie is his best pal, it's just him and the dog up there. But he saw how much we loved him, so he left him for us for the week! I am back with Hermana Villalobos which means I have ceased wearing any of my own clothes. I don't want to go! I have a queen size bed. Come on. This place is ridiculous. If its not with family, I can't think of a better place to spend the holidays! Oh man, I'm going to die when I have to leave. I would be so, more than content staying here for the duration of my mission. That will not happen. Starting a group is the best!!!!! We are starting the group out of 3rd ward, but we cover the whole stake. It rains..pours, every day here. And I love it. Everyone is going to get baptized. Elder Cuas from the Dominican Republic serving English speaking found a few potentials for us to teach, but mostly we're on our own! Just building a teaching pool. It's awesome. This is the most fun I have had on my mission for sure. Building a group is just so exciting!! There is so much work to do, but at the same time, it feels like nothing because the ward is SO supportive, and I am doing this with one of my best friends! It doesn't get better than this, don't even try to talk me down from the tree. President Taylor knows I am in heaven. AHH. We have a brand new car...it's so nice. I'm like, so spoiled!! Oh my goodness, think of the missionaries in the Phillipines! Anyways, I'm happy. I know that this is just a Christmas miracle, and the most gigantic tender mercy from the Lord, so I am just going to soak it all in. Waah I want to cry, I'm so happy!!
Even though the members don't speak Spanish, it really makes no difference. We are still bringing them to every lesson so that they can testify, and the Spirit can be felt. Love and the Spirit are felt much stronger than Spanish is heard. Each of these members wants to do everything they can to help this get going and to find people that we can teach. As far as the mission goes, this is kind of like my Paradise.
I love you a lot!
Friday, November 15, 2013
We got transfer letters, and Transfers are tomorrow morning!! Because we have two new hermanas coming, we all knew President would have to open up a new area. There has been lots of talk about where he would decide, and let me tell you, it is Longview. Who knows what that means?? But I don't care I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!! I get to open up Longview!!!!!!!!!! With HERMANA VILLALOBOS. MY MTC COMPANION/BEST FRIEND. AAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! We have been waiting for this day, never thinking that it would actually come. We would joke, "President will never put us together. We would be too happy, and too successful." Well we ARE together, and we are SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!! I love CAPS LOCK!!!! But even caps lock doesn't do these feeling justice. They told us to use exclamation points in General Conference, well I'm using exclamation points!!!!!!!Do you know what this means?? We don't have a branch, so we will be starting a "group". They will go to an English ward until we are big enough to be a branch. Who knows if there are many/any Hispanic members in that ward to help and come to lessons, and we won't have an area book!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA. That is a missionary's whole life! This is the biggest adventure I have thus far ventured! I have already talked with some members about friends they have there that are fluent in Spanish and could help us out. It's gonna be wild!!!!!!! Hermana Scow will be going to Portland and training a new missionary. Woot woot!!! This is gonna be awesome.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Everything is funnier now that I saw the blog Alice is keeping. Haha. Now that I can see how everything I am saying is being recorded! I will probably put more thought into my words now. I wish I had my journal con migo,
Dear all of the best people I know,
This week was prettyyy great. Halloween was the funniest day ever. The Mendoza family had the four hermanas over for dinner, and our mission President said, as far as Halloween night goes, "Just be smart about it." Haha, that is his answer for everything. So, because we couldn't tract obviously, or teach lessons that night since people were out, we spent all hallows eve with this family! Also, they live like over an hour away, up into the mountains. It's not even in our misson! So they picked us up, drove up there, he had been talking about a "service project for us", well, he took us into the room to show us what we would be doing....MAKING MASKS!!! Yay! And then the dinner. Oh my goodness. It was outrageous. We ate by candlelight, and were handed a menu with crazy food items: dead man's bones, guts, stuff like that. Anyways, you were only allotted so many utensils, so you had to figure out how to eat everything. For example, Hermana McKinley ate her spaghetti and meatballs with a pie cutter. It was pretty great. Luckily, we still got to do missionary work because their daughter brought her boyfriend who is investigating the church right now.
Thank you for all of the love! I didn't bring my camera. but I took a pic with me and the 5 letters I got the other night. I love you!
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Sorry but this week is going to be verrrry short.We met with Elizabeth again, among many others. Oh my gosh I don't even have time to talk about Cynthia! Ok Elizabeth has not been coming to church because she doesn't feel worthy. She has church pamphlets that her sister gave her, talking about the law of Chastity, and tithing, and so forth. She is so humble and sweet, she hasn't wanted to come because she is not yet perfect in those things. We talked to her about this life being a process, and nonnneee of us will ever be perfect in anything. And that Heavenly Father wants us to come to him with our sin, heartache, thoughts and feelings, good or bad, He wants us to come to Him. No importa que hacemos, El es siempre nuestro Padre. Yo se que El quiere que venimos. Con todo. "No matter what we do, he is our Father. I know he wants to come. with everything."
Monday, October 21, 2013
Oh my goodness.What a week :)
The Cruz family:
Hermana Scow and I needed to use the restroom. We at random chose McDonalds. Haha. But as we approach the door, we see the "restroom for patrons only" sign, so we start to turn around, but two people in line wave us in. Hermana Scow runs to the restroom, and this family introduces themselves as the Cruz family, from Texas. They were happy to see us because they had a referral, someone interested that they had found for us to teach. They gave us his name and contact info. We asked how they knew him. Ready? They are here on VACATION for a week, had been praying for missionary opportunities, had met him in the mall, and read Moroni 10:3-5 with him. What?! What?! These people are awesome! Turns out this guy they met has a Book of Mormon in his house already. We are still trying to contact him. We gave them two more Book of Mormons with our phone # in case they find anyone else. That was a crazy inspiration to me, of what I need to be doing on vacations!
One thing about the branch. It is so special to watch these people progress. Basically everyone is a recent convert, so every week there are men being ordained to the Priesthood, and one by one, these humble men with little to their name are showing up in misfitted suits to respect and honor the priesthood they now hold. It's a beautiful thing.
Last night we had dinner with Pres.Harbertson and his family, and we were talking about his son's cool mission experiences. They were ones of miracles and healing. And President Harbertson looked at me, and said that experiences like those are just as sweet as seeing Hermana Sanchez come back to church after several months. The first time I met Hermana Sanchez, the Spirit whispered to my heart during the lesson, that she among others, but her specifically, was why I am here. That was a couple of months ago. And after a visit last week, we saw her at church. It was beautiful. Most of my experiences with helping others come unto Christ has been with less active members. And that means a lot to me.
Well family and dearly beloved,
Thanks to an UNCLE KURT and my companion Hermana Scow, I have realized once again something that I love to do: not share anything personal or close to me with anyone except the chosen few haha. Hermana Scow doesn't care, because she isn't a conversationalist in any regard, and I've been forcing myself to share personal things with her. She does't respond haha. Hahaha I really love her. But yeah, this is definitely a quality that puts a strain on all of my relationships, including my e-mailing realtionship with you! Can we all agree that it is time for me to share personal experiences, and stop being so vague and mysterious?? Okay cool.
Personal experience #1:
Oh gosh I hate this already.
Okay I don't know how to do this, can we start gradually maybe? Read some how-to books or something? Alright.
Mostly I just feel like my daily life would not be interesting for other people to read about. And I was raised to not speak unless you have something of worth to say. I don't really know how to determine what is of worth.
OK THIS IS REALLY HARD FOR ME....READY???
Elizabeth. Elizabeth's sister is being taught by a set of Spanish Elders, and her other sister's family is being taught by, us. There are 7 sisters. Elizabeth has a truly beautiful soul. She does it alone. Works all day to give her children a home and food, and receives no gratitude or help in return. She told us that she just cries and cries, and then wipes herself off, goes on with life, and then wakes up the next morning and does it all over again. All I could stand to talk to her about was the Atonement. But that is all I ever really want to talk about. Because if everyone just understood that, there would be no need for anything else.
Anyways, so the story is this: I was on exchanges with another hermana, and Hermana Scow and I had been trying to contact Elizabeth for days, (she is a referral from her sister). So Hermana Clanton and I tried it out. Basically, every road block you come across with your investigator is removed on exchanges. Exchanges. I love exchanges! So we go over, of course she is home, and she was going to shoo us off, but we sweet talked our way into the door. Like usual. Wendy, I know you hate that I am so awfully persistent, but it has been of more value to me on my mission than almost any other quality. So, she invites us to be seated. The three of us gather at the table. I ask her if her husband bought those flowers for her. She shakes her head and quietly says no and looks down. I start telling her about her sister, Griselda, and if she knew about her upcoming baptism. She says no. And then I ask about her sister Alma. She doesn't want to talk about Alma. So I ask her, "What has passed between you and Alma?" And then the tears flow. She tells me that their mother was dying, and was staying here in her home as she took care of her, with the help of Griselda. Griselda is the only one who would help take care of their dying mother. And when her mom said, "Elizabeth, call your sisters. I want to say goodbye.", Alma never came. Alma lives 5 minutes away. And so, Elizabeth repeated the phrase, "-my heart is hard towards her...my heart is hard towards her." Well I don't blame her. Elizabeth is the oldest, and her father is a broke drunk, and so since she was 8, her mother worked, and Elizabeth took care of all her little sisters. She told me she doesn't even like to leave the house anymore. She said, "I dont' know what has happened to me." She desperately needs the Atonement, as do each and every one of us.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught us that, that is all missionary work is; it is providing for the Atonement.
Was that a better e-mail? Worse? Who knows, but thanks for your love and prayers. They are felt every day.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
It's confusing to feel this happy when some of the darkest days of life just passed yesterday. But they're over. And what I realized is this: (just now while writing this)...
The darkness was encompassing and completely engulfing me. Dimmer and dimmer the light got, as I slipped out of reality. I was gone. For three days, I sat in the dark, having escaped warmth and comfort of soul. I was here, in body, but it was as if there was nothing inside of me. Like I was watching my own life, but not taking part in it. The prophet's voice, on the morning of the third day, is what softened my heart enough to hear the voice of the Spirit, resucitating me back to life. As he spoke of his angel wife Frances, I saw a much broader perspective and path. And now the curtains have been place back, the light has filtered into every crevice of my spirit. The prophet's voice, and your voices, brought me out of a very dark state.
"People like you, save people like me. And I love you for that."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
But I claim those words as my own to each of you.
Sometimes, the light is not as bright as the sun. That is when we must walk in the light of the sparks we have kindled. You, and the fire of a testimony, are many of my sparks. I think of you as the sparks that I have kindled, that carry me through the dark until the morning comes.
I love you very much,
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The Lord let the Provo Tabernacle burn so that it could one day become a holy temple. The same is true in each of our lives. He will let us burn to the ground. To be cleansed, to be purified, and so He can build us back up to something much, much better than what we left in the ashes. I guarantee it hurts Him more as our Father to watch us burn, than for us to suffer through it for a time and season. But He needs to build us into temples, and there is only one way. To let the wordly edifice burn down to the ground.
This is the most incredible and most painful experience in my life thus far. He is preparing us to be eternal. That is a painful transformation. To become a new creature; nothing about that sounds easy. But it is what we have been asked to do. To me, it's a beautiful concept. Learn to become.
This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, once again on the earth. The very same church Christ set up and established as His way. The priesthood is real and healing. This is the work of the Lord. There is no other way. 2 Nephi 31:21
"The only way out is through."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
We must each go through. But there has already been a plan set, a path marked, and the way made known. He is the way. And there is no other way. And when we come to the end of the road of mortality, there will only be One to greet us. Because He employs no servant there at the gate. 2 Nephi
This is His work.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Oh my gosh I have to go so bad, but I have exactly 16 minutes left and I am not getting up.
Okay. SO. This week was pretty great. I learned some lessons. Favorite scripture of the week: Matthew 24:46.
Also, this hurst. Haha. Dad, it's just parked here. Nobody drives it. It has tons of skulls and stuff in the back. And a casket. I'm pretty sure it sits here year round in this random, ghetto apartment complex. So great.
Also: TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. Every day. It was like this my first couple of months. They say it is this way for 10 months out of the year. I definitely did not pack for this...I packed for Kennewick, which is hot, deserty farm-land. Whoops.
Well, yeah. I seriously have to go to the bathroom so bad.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
So we were walking with Rafaela, and she took us to this ice cream shop. Awesome little hidden garage. Authentic Mexican ice cream made and packaged right there. Anyways, glad to find out that the owner (woman) is obsessed with me. She gave us plantains haha, and I cooked them up; that's what this picture is of. I'm doing pretty well for myself. Rafaela told me after that the owner thinks I look like a princess, and later she even called me "nuera"......daughter-in-law. YIKES. I ONLY MET HER ONE TIME. HAHA, it's so much weirder because we are trying to get her son (our age) and her nephew to meet with missionaries. Anyways.
Dear family and friends that are family,
Thank you so much for making my birthday last forever, and informing me of things yet to come. My goodness! I haven't had a birthday like this since I was 5. Lindsey, I have a picture of you and Jake on my board that Barbara sent to me haha, love you Barbara :) Well, I got to go to Portland this week on exchanges, thank goodness. I love it there. It's so...full of opportunity haha if you know what I mean. Probably not. There are a lot of hispanics is what I mean. Okay I mean that it's ghetto. I have a feeling that I will be there SOON. If not in two weeks, than the transfer after that for sure. We don't get any new hermanas until November, so I won't be training anybody new. We'll see! General Conference: 6 month mark. WEIRD. 1/3 over! Yikes!
Dad, can you find and send me the quote by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, about the star in Bethlehem being placed in orbit long before it shone that night? And if possible, the story of President Monson walking past the casket of President Hinckley, and hearing, "Retention, retention, retention." Thank you :) Oh! And if it's not too long, the prophet Joseph's dream about the Savior standing directly above His Apostle's heads and they didn't know it, because they wouldn't look up.
My favorite scripture right now: Proverbs A true witness, a true testimony, can save people. Read it!
All of my love, Hermana Patton
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Thank you for the birthday salutations! What a sweet surprise! I had the best birthday of all time. A new investigator was hospitable and kind enough to make a huge bday feast. Her friend and brother, (strangers to me) bought the cake, complete with Feliz Cumpleanos Hermana Patton. It was a humbling day that strangers would do something so kind. And the branch president's wife brought me a cake, and the big breakfast we have with all of the missionaries in the stake landed on Sep 2, and afterwards, we hiked the Ape Caves next to Mt.St.Helens! Woot woot! What a great birthday!
I have 2 minutes to send pics.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Hermana Peterson and I
Hermana Peterson Hermana Scow Hermana Patton+20l
Hermana Scow & Hermana Patton with our beautiful home behind us
The trek. Not in it, don't look for me.
This is how my new companion hangs up her clothes to dry. Really though.
I have way too much time to e-mail today.
Only because all of the mothers will ask:
Hermana Scow is a brand new missionary straight from the MTC in Mexico. I will be training her! She is from Palos Verdes, CA. Yeeah. California girl from inside out, and I love her! She likes to talk about people like she has known them forever, so when we leave the house of someone we just met, she says, "Classic Polly..." Haha. Or, "Classic Juana", it's way funnier than you would think. Everthing she eats and owns is organic, and she loves Beyonce. She does exercises in bed while we are all trying to go to sleep ahahaha. And she hangs up her clothes to dry on antler horns and housetops. I think that about sums her up. Classic Hermana Scow.
My family and my friends that are also family,
There isn't a TON to say, because this week was pretty simple. It went like this:
TUES: Took out the brand new missionaries upon President's request
WED: Transfer day! I got a present in the form of Hermana SCOW. Possibly, no no no, THE funniest, most ridiculous person I have ever met in my life. She never has any idea why, but I am laughing on the ground, almost every other minute. I love her.
FRI: Pioneer Trek with branch. Branch council requested our presence, and President Taylor okayed it. It was pretty great. A hike, pioneer games, dinner, talk, 17 miracles, camping. No we were not allowed to stay for the movie or the camping unfortunately haha.
SAT: Elder Holland came to speak to our mission. Very, very, rare and special for an Apostle to come to a mission in this day and age.
SUN: Sent Hermana Peterson off to Argentina.
So this week was crazy. Really crazy. It's now me and Hermana Scow. I'm lovin' it. I told President I am too happy and content...tragedy is coming.
By the way, I would send more pictures, but LDS mail only allows one at a time, so...I would have to send you like 20 e-mails. That would just be obnoxious. For you and I both. I'll probably do it. K here are some pictures.
Love you all tons, I exhausted anything intersting and meaningful into a letter to my father. You need photos anyway.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I miss Aubrie! Can someone please tell her to write me!!????
Dear family and friends,
It is zero degrees in this library and I can't feel my fingers, buutt that's alright. Okay haha, this week was so great. I need to calm down so that I can actually write about it nicely and reverently.
I got to be a part of something very special as you know. Mara is now a member :) It is so exciting to see her faith grow. She is my example of courage and faith. She did it alone, save the help of her Savior. She's just incredible. It was a beautiful service. It was also the most stressful day of my life. Last minute we found out that there was going to be a stake youth dance the same time as the baptism! AAH! So we had to move it 20 minutes away, and just...lots of stuff happened. Plus you invite all of your investigators, and everyone you talk to all week..you can't move it! It was all hilarious now that I think about it. The Elders did some crazy things to salvage the night and make sure everything was perfect. Just picture 3 Elders running throught the mall trying to not look at anything they pass by, just trying to get to the copy center to make maps for everyone of the different location two hours before the service. Haha. Anyways, it turned out beautifully. Hermana Peterson and I were too focused on everything that needed to happen next that/ it was one of the first services we had seen, so we couldn't really hold an opinion. But everyone said that it was one of, if not the most spiritual and well put together services they had seen. So we could breathe after that. We jsut kept telling ourselves that Mara, Hermano Ruelas, and the witnesses were the only people who needed to be there. President and Sister Taylor and his counselors and their wives were in attendance. Just to give you a little taste of Mara's character, when Sister Taylor went to meet Mara and congratulate her, Sister Taylor explained who she was (serving as Mission Presidents), and Mara replied with, in very broken English, "No. We are here to serve you." That is Mara for you. No missionary helped her enter the waters of baptism. No sir, she is just incredible.
Oh, I am not getting moved. I will stay in Vancouver and be training a new missionary again! Yay! I am so happy to stay here. These members are family. Hermana Peterson will be going off to Argentina. I love my mission, yes I do. And I hope I come back as weird as can be!
Sunday, August 18, 2013
This week was crazy haha. The zone leaders asked our companionship to go work in Battleground a few times a week. Battleground is farther north; one of Vancouver's surrounding cities. There are not man spanish speaking people there. I think we about found them all. And we are teaching them, so it's great!
Right now I am trying to get Hermana Peterson ready to train if she has to next week. Never would most mission presidents have a missionary out 6 weeks, and waiting on a visa train another missionary, but this is President Taylor. This man is fearless, and has more faith in us than we can believe sometimes. We are also getting Mara Munoz ready for baptism this week. We couldn't be more excited for her, and that we get to be a part of this. When I got here, Mara had already been taught for a few months. After meeting her, I exclaimed to my first companion, Hermana Williams, that I was not leaving until Mara was baptized. It wasn't just me being determined; I felt those words were true. Well, I taught her with Hermana Kidd as well, and then Hermana Peterson came. Before I told Hermana Peterson how I felt about Mara, she said, "I'm not leaving to Argentina until Mara is baptized." So..we both knew why we were in Vancouver. Mara's baptism is this Saturday, the 17th. We also get transfer calls that day. Neither of us will be surprised if we're both outta here. Mara is one of the best people I know, and it is truly a privilege to be walking with her on this road for a short while. The picture enclosed is of two of her sons. She has four children, and they are about the cutest, sweetest, most polite little things you'll ever meet.
A pair of missionaries came up to me after sacrament meeting yesterday, and patted me on the back, congratulating me on a baptism. "Way to go!", they said. "You got a baptism!" I looked probably a little..disgusted haha, because this is not how I see the situation. When I told them that it wasn't me, but Mara's preparation, and the Lord, they looked confused, and told me, "It has everything to do with the missionary." And tried to defend their case that baptisms arise out of the missionary. Hmm. False. Because that would mean that someone would be considered UNsuccessful if they weren't a part of a baptism. Which is not true. Preach My Gospel teaches us that people have their agency to choose, and your success is measured by your dedication to the work. Not the outward results of your mission, but the inward results of YOU. The longer I am here, the more I think that the Lord doesn't really need 18 and 19 year old kids to come and convert people to His gospel. He could do it on His own, through angels, or dreams and visions. And if He really wanted people to understand the gospel perfectly, He would send out certified teachers, and scriptorians. I feel like the Lord calling us out here is an act of mercy. He knows that we need this mission to shape us. Not for us to shape other people's lives.
I hope you all know that I love you, and I love the Lord. That is why I am here.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Sorry! This is going to be short, because I just wrote a bomb e-mail to President Taylor.
Okay...transfers are in two weeks, and there are 4 companionships of Spanish speaking sisters. And three new Hermanas coming. So. Something intersting is for sure going to happen, especially since I have already been here for three transfers. Hopefully I get to finish training Hermana Peterson before she goes to Argentina. The church has a 12 week training program for new missionaries, but I'm sure they are going to change it to six soon enough. We don't have time for 12 weeks anymore! There are too many missionaries coming!
Okay I am finally going to buy a working camera today. So I will send you some pictures! We have our only zone P-day ever today, with our new Spanish Zone. It will be fun. BBQ and volleyball at our Branch President's house. Which you have already been to! So crazy! I can't get over it. And yes it was a hard choice this morning choosing between my Canter's Deli shirt and the Goonies shirt. The life of a missionary.
Okay 7 minutes now. This week, we had a super huge miracle. A woman who has been taught for 8 months, and taught by all of the hermanas to pass through is finally getting baptized! There have been some road-blocks, but she is being faithful in the dark right now, and that is when the Lord is nearest and most proud of us I think.is going to be a good day :)
The Lord tells you as a missionary when you have come across the people you were called to. And it is not even to all of the people you teach.
I love you all with all my heart,
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Mi familia y otras personas quien son familia tambien,
Esta semana fue muy maravillosa, pero la proxima semana...mucho mejor. Muy anima. Ok, no mas. Jaja. Our ward mission leader told us to forget that we even knew English. "Forget English. Forget you even know that language." Entonces, esta es mi meta, pero es muy frustrando para ustedes. Entonces, no mas.
There was a baptism in the branch this week. That was a wonderful experience to witness. Hermana Peterson and I have created a Branch plan for member involvement. We took our plan to the Branch Mission Leader, and he is excited about it. Our branch consists of mostly recent converts, so I think they are really nervous about being a part of our lessons. But their testimonies are so beautiful, and they don't realize that they are everything in a lesson. Save the Spirit of course. So, the Zone leaders have asked me to be in charge of member present lessons. Our goal as a district is 50 member present lessons per week, and I am to consruct a plan that makes sure we reach that, without overlapping or over-using the branch members. I feel a little honored that they trust me with that responsibility.
I must say that I do love my mission. Every single day I love it even more. This is a sacred time in my life. And I love it.
Hermana Peterson is super great. Easiest companion ever. The Bonewell family is who we are living with. They have been housing missionaries for several years. Sis.Bonewell is the cutest and tells the world, "Those two are the busiest, hardest working missionaries. We never see them!" So yeah, we love her :)
I'm super attached at the hip to this branch. I am going to actually die when they ask me to leave. I'm convinced that they are the greatest people in the world.
I got to have my first interview with President Taylor this week. Well, first of all, he is the greatest. When he asked if I had any questions, I told him, "Well President, what do you know about patience?" We had a great talk, and those words are invaluable to me. As he shook my hand, showing me out of his office, he said to me, "Hermana Patton, we've got some big plans for you." Yikes! I don't know what that means.
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings from heaven.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
To those that I love,
Hmm. This week was pretty great. Because I got a GOONIES t-shirt. Hand delivered to my Branch Presidents home, by my very own parents. Happiness.
You might have wondered at some point in my bizzaro e-mails home, why I haven't mentioned the people we are teaching. Well, I feel..not right about doing that. These are people's lives, and who I am to be publishing it? Pictures maybe, if I ask them. But details..no. One day, when it's just you and me, and the setting and tone of the conversation is appropriate, I will probably share some of these sacred experiences I am only privileged to be a part of.
This week, Heavenly Father taught me something really special. I was on exchanges with another Hermana, and we were keeping each other awake talking about "the one" Let me go back in time a little bit. A returned sister missionary came back to the branch to visit, and I asked her who in the branch she played a part in teaching. She pointed to one of my favorite families, and said that, that was all. She was here in this area for 14 months. She said everyone else she taught went in-active. In the end, it was all for this one family. Almost the entirety of her mission, seeing as some of those 18 months were spent in the MTC. So her mission, in full, was for this one beautiful family. So I got to thinking, that maybe this really is all for just one. And how, that needs to be enough. I am one, therefore it would only be fair if I spent my mission in the serivce of the one. One for one. But, Heavenly Father does not often have this be the scenario. There are many that need us, but it was important for me to put my time here in perspective, and let it be enough if it was for only one. So anyways, Hermana Petersen and I were discussing this through the night, and declaring that they are so worth it, and that though difficult, we would always keep this perspective. Because, you say these things, knowing they are true, but what is left on the opposite side? If the whole mission were for one, that would mean that every other person would disappoint you, break your heart, slam the door, or say..no. So. The next morning, we get up, and I feel very strongly that we just need to go to every in-active, and anyone on the branch directory who we have never seen, and go out to them. Go find them, and bring them to church. So we did just that. It took the whole of our day. And more than half had moved. The other half were not home. And so, after mapping out our route, eating 80 miles of the mission vehicle, and not contacting a single person on the list, we found ourselves with a few minutes left, and one more family. You can guess what happens next. A girl answers the door. She is only 17, and the most prepared for the gospel than anyone I have met thus far. She has been studying the book of Esther in her spare time, and..she's just incredible. Her family is inactive, and she is not baptized. I can't do the story justice over e-mail, or anything for that matter. Heavenly Father taught us, and tried the very testimony of the words we had said the night before. Our whole day was a doosy, but it was spent in the service of the one, and she was more than worth every failed attempt that day.
I love you all dearly,
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
OKAY LOVED ONES,
I AM TRAINING. It's pretty great :) I received Hermana Peterson , and would have told you sooner, except they didn't tell me until afternoon. Typically, you will get a call from the President asking you to train the weekend before transfers. And typically you will have been out several months before this takes place. BUT since this is a brand new mission, and there are so many missionaries coming out, I was asked to train Hermana Peterson, 21, waiting for her visa to Argentina. She is fabulous, and we will indeed be friends for a long time. She is always willing to work hard, and be positive, and we just have a good time. It's not a pain to be 100% obedient when you absoultely the person you are doing it with. We don't even notice the rules. We just work hard, pray constantly, enjoy the work, and being with each other, and we're happy! And seeing so many miracles! We have put three people on date since she arrived, and we are hoping her visa gets delayed indefinitely. I love her to death. We are living in a member's home, the Bonewells, and we are in love with them! I have been dying to have dogs, and they have three! It's so fun. Vancouver is the most beautiful place, and I feel so lucky to be in the beautiful half of the mission. The Kennewick side is just farmland. It is beautiful too...but it looks just like Spanish Fork.
We now have 12 missionaries in the branch hahahaa. Travis, Elder HOBBINS is our district leader! HAHA he loves you. We now have our very own Spanish Zone which is super fun; it's us and Portland. It is incredible to have 12 missionaries in the branch! It is only a sign to me that there are SO MANY people in Vancouver that are ready for this :D The people, the branch members. This place is going to erupt. With 12 of us, we fail if it doesn't! We are so excited!
I have never learned more in my time as a missionary than I have since I have started training. They literally do everything you do...and that is more than enough motivation for me to be an even better missionary than what I think my best is. It's a blessing and a privilege, and this is the just the best. Training is the best. I have to rely on the Lord 100%, whereas I used to rely on my trainer and the Lord, about equal parts. But now it's just the Lord. And I am the one she turns and looks at if ..not ime, love you
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
July 1, 2013 - Mi familia y mi amigos (yes I will be an annoying spanish speaking missionary that thinks they're cool because they know Spanish now)
So this week...
Haha what do I even tell you all? I got lots of love in the shape of packages and boxes :) I love you, thank you. Today is the first official day of the WA Vancouver mission. President and Sister Taylor are here now! So exciting! We'll meet them tomorrow.
What I can tell you is that the things that everyone say about the missionary being the greatest convert in their mission...are all true. The only things that I can prach and testify of are things that I have done, and learned, and know to be good and true. And it's so great that when you internalize a principle, you can finally share it. With your heart, not your brain.
It's a beautiful opportunity I have to learn Spanish. Because I work with people all over the globe; people that I never would have been able to communicate with before now. It makes me want to learn every language now! How sad to only have the ability to comminicate with one race or culture. Everyone in the world should be forced to learn cada idioma (every language). All thanks to Babel.
This week was really a dud. But only because I was a dud. I had zero desire. And there are two parts to missionary work: work, and desire! Without desire, the work can be unbearable. But I studied in the scriptures to find solutions, and Heavenly Father showed me the remedy! He always will. So do you want to know why I was struggling so much??...
I am reading in 1 Nephi, where the storyline is basically split in half between Nephi and Laman & Lemuel. Everyone always compares and likens themselves to Nephi, and puts their name in place of his in many verses in the book of 1 Nephi. But lately, I have unintentionally been thinking of myself as Laman & Lemuel. And therein I found my answer. Laman & Lemuel are consistently doing wrong by the Lord and by Nephi. And every time, tey get chastised into being good again. The fear of God is placed in them, they beg Nephi's forgiveness, and repent. But then it's only a short time before the cycle starts again. I always wonder why they are so quick to reverting to wickedness and unhappiness, after they receive signs from the Lord. It's because they are motivated by fear. They can only stay happy for so long before things go rotten again, because they are fear-driven. I myself was wondering why one day was awesome, and the next, I want to leave. "Why is my happiness and desire so fleeting!!?" So I thought about my reasons for staying.
1) I'm afraid of what my family will think
2) I'm afraid of being judged by church members, and all those that helped me get here
3) I'm afraid of what all of the other RM's will think that returned after a full, faithful mission
4) I'm afraid about wasting the money and time of those that contributed
5) I'm afraid of figuring out my future when I get back
6) I'm afraid of not learning the lessons I need to, and can only learn here on this mission
7) I'm afraid that if I leave, I won't become the person God needs me to be
8) I'm afraid that I won't have the future and life that Heavenly Father has planned for me
Those are all of my reasons in full.
Can you see where I'm going wrong? The day I wrote these, I had zero positive reasons for staying. All of my reasons are motivated by fear. The reason why Nephi was consistently faithful and righteous, was because he had a sincere desire to serve His God. That is what I am looking for.
I love you all, and always will,
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I'm hardly in an inspirational mood. I'm hungry, and I ate my body weight in rasberries this morning so I'm not feelin' so hot! We went rasberry picking with Pres. Alder today; it was so much fun! Elder Collins is from South Carolina, so he sang us _____ pickin' songs while we picked rasberries. It was great.
Okay so just so everyone is up to date: I received Hermana Kidd last week, our next transfer is in 2 weeks, and I am permanently in the Vancouver Mission. Which will swallow up half of Portland as well. Yes, I would love to go to Portland. I wanted to live in WA befforree I moved here. Let's just say...the citizens of WA take full advantage of the mary-jane being legal. High people looovee the story of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. "Woooowww", with big eyes, is what they look like when we tell them about it. It's a real self esteem boost after so many non-intoxicated people say no thanks and shut the door. Anyways. WA is a trip for sure.
Okay so Hermana Kidd. She's pretty awesome. She is 25, a school-teacher, adorable, and an answer to my prayers. She is an incredible missionary. I will get to go on exchanges with other companionships often, because she will be moving around with other sisters. I could not ask for a better trainer. I can't see us being life long friends or anything...we're pretty opposite in everything other than how we are both fully aware that our way is best. EXCEPT I will have you know family, that I think I have been cured, since I am alwayyys the compromiser now, or I just give in because I don't care to have things my way all the time anymore. So that's good. It took someone just like me, to see, and think..."Ugghhh, is that how I am?" So now I try really hard to not be that person who is always right. But she is a near perfect trainer, and that is what mattered most to me; a trainer that could give me an example to hold onto for the next 15 months. I don't need to be best friends forever with every companion. I just want to learn what God would have me learn from them. Hermana Kidd is extremely busy, fast paced, knowledgable about the field, and focused 1,000% of the time. She is exactly what I asked for, and I got it. It's just as hard as I thought it would be, but I'm finally doing the missionary work that I desired, and was sent here to do. The real reason why I was so miserable, is because I felt like I wasn't fulfilling my purpose. I got into the field, and my trainer killed my fire. I was so pumped and excited, and ready to work, and then I came here and there wasn't any. And I wasn't being taught to be a missionary...on any level. So I just felt hopeless, and basically like, "I'm not doing ANY good for the people of Vancouver. Why am I away from all that I love and hold dear to just walk around aimlessly with a badge on? Nobody is teaching me how to be a missionary!!!!" So Hermana Kidd was my gift from Heaven, and I am so, so very grateful for her. I am learning how to be a missionary, and how to do missionary work. She is the best of the best, and anyone that has been trained by her is so blessed if they are willing to learn from her. Your trainer is who sets the pace for your entire mission. They teach you how to be a missionary in deed, while the Spirit trains you in your heart.
The most important thing I have learned this week is this: (It just keeps running through my head)
Everyone needs a Savior. Everyone needs the Savior. Everyone needs our Savior.
Once you can let the sterotypes of missionary work and all the stigma that comes with the words, "Mormon missionaries" fall away, really once you let EVERYTHING fall away, that is all that is left. That is the only thing you will find there. Because it is the only thing that matters. I am just learning this. I imagine it will be a life long endeavor.
Love you all so much, thank you for the love and letters,